December 11, 2007
A bizarre collision in Montevideo's harbor between Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dream and a barge has stranded that cruise ship -- and Celebrity Infinity as well.
The incident occurred Monday. As Norwegian Dream was departing from Montevideo it collided with a commercial barge carrying containers and cars. Five containers on the barge, not to mention three automobiles, toppled overboard. Norwegian Dream suffered damage to the ship's bow and its forward ballast tank.
As a result of the incident, Montevideo port officials closed the port to all traffic. That left Celebrity Infinity, which was waiting to depart, stranded there overnight (Marco Polo, of Orient Lines, a sister company to NCL, is reportedly stranded outside of the port, waiting to make a call there today).
According to an NCL statement, "The overall safety of the vessel has not been compromised; however, there is damage to the ship's bow and forward ballast tank." A repair team has been dispatched to begin repair work. Norwegian Dream remained at anchor in Montevideo's harbor.
In the meantime, a Celebrity spokesman told us that as of 3:30 p.m. EST, "We called on Montevideo yesterday -- from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Before we were able to depart, the accident happened, which meant we were unable to depart until the containers and automobiles were removed from the water at the harbor entrance. Those efforts have just finished. The Dream will reenter the port and tie up (in the next 90 minutes) -- then -- we'll be the first to depart."
No information was immediately available from Celebrity regarding the impact of the collision on Infinity's itineraries but NCL has already announced it will cut planned calls at the Falkland Islands' Port Stanley and at Argentina's Puerto Madryn. It's also giving passengers a $150 per person onboard credit.
Norwegian Dream had been on the second day of a 14-night around-the-horn trip between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso.
We'll keep you posted.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief