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    Norwegian Star breaks free from mooring lines and hits Explorer of the seas

    While in Bermuda yesterday the Norwegian Star broke loose from her moorings and while pushed by the wind sailed into the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the seas moored at the next berth. This happened as passengers watched from shore and aboard both ship.

    Around 1:30 p.m. on Friday among 45 knot winds (52 miles per hour) the aft mooring lines holding Norwegian Star to the dock began to break. As the aft mooring lines broke the wind took over moving the Star from the dock and into the nearby Royal Caribbean International Explorer of the seas. Both ships sustained some hull damage.

    After hitting the Explorer the Star set both anchors to keep the ship from being pushed further around the port. The Star also started the bow thrusters to add to their ability to maintain a position. Also, immediately after the incident a rescue craft was launched to investigate damage to each ship. Both ships were not considered to be in any immediate danger of sinking due to the collision, although repairs are needed.

    Around 2 p.m. Norwegian called port authorities asking for two tug boats be sent to immediately assist the Star get back on her mooring at the dock. The requested tug boats arrived at the Star about 30 minutes after the request. Another 15 minutes passed while a pilot boarded the Star and the ship was pushed back into her berth.

    No reports of injuries from passengers or crew were reported. Because the situation occurred over a few minute time span, crew was able to prepare for the event. The time facilitated ensuring nobody was put at risk for significant harm. However, the event did inconvenience a number of passengers waiting to disembark or re-embark the ship after spending time in Bermuda. The ship was due to sail back to the USA Friday evening, so many were wrapping up their time in Bermuda.

    The Norwegian Star sailed back to the USA as planned Friday evening. Also, the Explorer of the seas will return on schedule as well. At this time there are no statements from either cruise line about when the ships will receive repairs to their hulls or if the repairs will affect any upcoming scheduled cruises. In past incidents there were mixed results repairing ships while sailing normal schedules with some ships coming out of service long enough to make hull repairs, although that is a last resort move.

    Pictures and reports show several dents to the starboard aft waterline area of the hull of Norwegian Star. There are few pictures circulating at this hour of any damage to Explorer of the seas. Reports from passengers aboard the Explorer indicate a small dent is present but nothing more.

    This is not the first time ships have broken free of moorings in high winds. Further it is not the first time Royal Caribbean authorities are dealing with one of their ships being hit by another cruise ship while their ship sat docked in port.

    By David Books, Examiner.com

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