France aids battered cruiser in Mediterranean

14th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

TOULON, France, Feb 15 (AFP) - A cruise ship carrying around 750 people docked at the Italian island of Sardinia on Tuesday after suffering a battering and a temporary breakdown during a major Mediterranean storm, French port officials said here.

TOULON, France, Feb 15 (AFP) - A cruise ship carrying around 750 people docked at the Italian island of Sardinia on Tuesday after suffering a battering and a temporary breakdown during a major Mediterranean storm, French port officials said here.

Several people aboard the Bahamas-registered Grand Voyager, which suffered a propulsion failure during heavy seas and gale-force winds, were injured and are being looked after by Italian authorities, they said. Some of them had suffered broken bones.

Earlier, ships and aircraft from France, Spain and Britain deployed to help the ocean liner, which was on a seven-day Mediterranean cruise organised by Spanish tour operator Iberojet.

Force 11 winds of 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour and waves as high as 14 meters (46 feet) battered the vessel on Monday, raising fears for its safety.

According to the British company V. Ships, which is in charge of the Voyager's mechanical upkeep, a large wave smashed glass on the rear deck of the cruise vessel, shorting out its communications and engine controls.

A British gas tanker, the Gimi, and three French military aircraft escorted the Grand Voyager to the Sardinian port of Cagliari. The gas tanker also berthed there, the port officials said.

The exact number of people aboard the ship was unclear. Iberojet put the number aboard at 790, with 477 passengers and 313 crew. The British company V. Ships, however, said there were 480 passengers and 296 crew on board. Most of them were Spanish nationals.

The Voyager had sailed from Tunisia on Sunday and had been due to dock in the Spanish city of Barcelona on Monday before continuing on the cruise.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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