CroisiEurope Rhine Cruise Continues On Schedule After Collision

August 5, 2014
croisieurope river cruise ship lafayette

(4 p.m. EDT) -- Lafayette, the newest vessel in French-owned CroisiEurope's fleet, continued its scheduled cruise after being involved in a collision caused by an upturned barge on the River Rhine on Monday morning. No passengers onboard were injured.

The 295-feet vessel was moored in the Swiss city of Basel when a barge carrying gravel capsized on the busy stretch of river at around 8:30 a.m. Another passenger ship, the Swiss-owned Merlin with 50 passengers onboard, was involved in a collision with the drifting barge, then struck the front of Lafayette, which was launched in April this year.

"Because of the current the ship hit the Lafayette that was docked," CroisiEurope spokesman Axel Araszkiewicz said. "Fortunately it only hit the front, causing just minimal damage. We had 74 passengers onboard the ship who were finishing and disembarking their cruise on that morning. The other passengers embarked [Monday] evening to begin their cruise, and the ship was able to sail without any problem."

Technical experts from the company will meet the vessel Wednesday at its port of call in Breisach to complete repairs to the ship's bow.

Lafayette, which carries 84 passengers and 24 crew, is based on the Rhine, operating eight-night cruises between Basel and Amsterdam.

The barge, which overturned and was lying upside down in the water, was initially stabilized by a towboat and later secured with steel cables. The affected part of the river was closed to water traffic for a number of hours. Merlin was able to reach the river bank, and all the passengers disembarked safely.

Officials in Basel, which is on Switzerland's border with French and Germany, have launched an inquiry into the accident.

-- By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor