Cruise ship with thousands on board runs aground off Dominican coast

CARIBEAN ISLAND (AFP): Officials in the Dominican Republic confirmed Monday that a large cruise ship had run aground off the Caribbean island nation’s north coast after leaving the port of Puerto Plata.

According to local media, the ship is the Norwegian Escape, which carries 3,000 tourists and 1,600 crew members.

“For the moment, there is no risk for passengers or crew members,” said Vice Admiral Ramon Gustavo Betances Hernandez, who added that the ship had run aground due to “strong 30 knot winds.” 

“The tide in this area rises about 1 meter (3 feet) at four in the morning (0800 GMT). We think that with the high tide, we can get the boat out of its current position,” the vice admiral said, noting that tugs had already been working in vain to free the vessel.

He said that additional tugs would soon be arriving to help in the effort.

According to Norwegian Cruise Line’s website, the Norwegian Escape is over 300 m long and weighs 165,000 tons.

It can accommodate up to 4,200 passengers and 1,700 crew members.