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October 19, 2010

Troubled trip for Costa Classica

Costa Cruises' Costa Classica has a 20 m gash in its side after what should have been a routine return journey to Shanghai from Korea's Jeju Island turned into a series of unfortunate events.

The first of these was when 44 of 1,300 Chinese passengers jumped ship on the resort island on Sunday -- apparently with plans of moving on to mainland South Korea as illegal immigrants. Eleven of the passengers were found in two hotels and remain in police custody facing deportation. The others face deportation if found.

Shanghai Daily reports that the Costa Classica departed Jeju Island for Shanghai at 3.00 p.m. Sunday.

However, according to the Shanghai maritime authority, the liner collided with the 173,000 dwt Belgium registered bulker Lowlands Longevity, owned by Cobelfret, at 4:45 a.m., Monday at the mouth of the Yangtze River, northeast of Shanghai.

The two ships were sailing in the same direction.

The local pilot was about to board the cruise ship when the collision took place.

Shanghai Daily says that, according to an initial investigation by the Shanghai Maritime Safety Bureau, the "liner lost control due to a power glitch." The newspaper says that, in addition to receiving a 20 m gash on its starboard side, some cabins on the fifth deck were damaged, with water pouring in through broken portholes.

Five ships from the safety bureau went to the scene and two of them escorted the cruise ship to the city's Waigaoqiao Port.

Its next cruise (Shanghai-Japan-Korea-Hong Kong) has been canceled.


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