Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cruise Ship Stalls In Pirate Region

More than 1300 passengers on an Australian-based cruise ship have arrived in Malaysia safely after the ship broke down in dangerous waters near Singapore. John Richardson, a spokesman for P&O Cruises, said the Pacific Sky had anchored in the Malacca Strait for about 30 hours after problems with its starboard engine. The crew was unable to fix the problem at sea and sailed on at slower speed using only the portside engine, arriving in Port Kelang in Malaysia about 8pm yesterday, Mr Richardson said. "The Captain described it as a minor but significant problem," he said.
Pacific Sky
None of the 1340 passengers on the seven-day cruise had been harmed during the incident and they would be given complementary shore tours in Kelang. "The passengers will be enjoying the day in Kelang which was scheduled for yesterday," Mr Richardson said. The straits in which the ship broke down are known for piracy and the Australian Government has warned travellers in the area. "Piracy in South-East Asian waters is an ongoing problem, particularly in the Straits of Malacca," the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website reads. Mr Richardson said the Malaysian Marine Police had visited the ship and passengers were not at threat. He said the Pacific Sky had been sold to another company and was on one of her final journeys for P&O Cruises. Mr Richardson denied the shipping line had let the vessel run down before it completed its last cruise on May 4. In a statement, P&O Cruises managing director Gavin Smith apologised to passengers and said the company regretted the inconvenience caused by the malfunction. The Pacific Sky is a 22-year-old vessel formerly known as Sky Princess and Fairsky.

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