Monday, May 05, 2008
A Baltic cruise ship with 984 people on board ran aground off the north-west coast of Latvia, coast guards said. Passengers - most of them Germans - were not in immediate danger and remained on board the 173-metre (567-foot) Mona Lisa, coast guard spokeswoman Liene Ulbina told DPA. The Bahamas-registered vessel was en route to the Estonian capital Tallinn from Riga, when it ran aground for the ninth time in its 42-year history, Latvian Defence Minister Vinets Veldre told reporters Sunday afternoon before leaving for the scene of the accident. Weather conditions weren't a factor in the accident, he said.
The Bahamas-registered cruise ship Mona Lisa.The Latvian Maritime Administration experts were on board the ship owned by Germany's Lord Nelson Seereisen company to determine how to pull it free. It remained unclear whether they would need to evacuate passengers. The coast guard said the crew had been inspecting the ship and had not found any sign of damage or oil tank leaks. The air force and border guards were on standby although there were no signs of damage to the Mona Lisa, which was stranded in the Irbe strait outside Riga, 38 km from the shore, Ulbina said. The Captain of the ship is from Greece. The officers are from Ukraine, according to the Baltic News Service.