A barge this morning struck Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas while the ship was docked at a pier in Key West. According to wire service reports, the result of the impact, caused when a tugboat pushed the barge into the cruise vessel, was a six foot gash in the ship's hull. The puncture is located forward, about six feet above the water line -- and struck an area of crew cabins that were, at the time, unoccupied. No injuries to the ship's 2,040 passengers or 741 crew members have been reported.
Enchantment of the Seas only departed yesterday from Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades on a four-day Western Caribbean swing that also calls at Cozumel. The ship is now under repair -- Royal Caribbean crew members are welding a six ft. long and one ft. wide replacement that's watertight. A company spokesman says a more permanent fix will be made in the future but the ship does not need to be taken out of service to do so.
Company authorities anticipate that Enchantment of the Seas will depart tonight from Key West as scheduled.