Luxury Cruise Liner Involved in Collision Off Vietnam

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By the CNN Wire Staff

A luxury cruise line ship collided in deep fog with a container ship off Vietnam, punching a hole in the container ship and knocking passengers off their feet, a passenger told CNN Monday.

“No one was hurt on our ship; everyone was certainly shaken up,” said passenger Andrew Lock about the incident, which occurred Friday, when the Silver Shadow was about five miles from the coast.

“When the ship appeared out of the fog, we knew five seconds before to brace for impact,” he said. “We hit full force into the side of this container ship.” He said a “gaping hole” was punched in the other vessel.

The ships scraped against each other after the impact, he said. “It was surreal, to see this very large ship appear literally right in front of us. It was as if we were perfectly lined up to hit it. It was surreal. Bizarre.”

After the impact, he said, passengers gathered a few of their possessions and headed to the muster stations. “The crew was calm, but the passengers — some were scared, or even frantic,” Lock said.

But after about 10 minutes, the captain announced that there was no imminent danger, he said.

The ship went on to anchor in Ha Long Bay, as had been planned. “The next day, we went to a nearby port and once we were off the ship we could see how extensive the damage was,” Lock said.

In a statement, Silversea Cruises said the Silver Shadow “was involved in a minor incident on March 16, 2012, at around 4:20 GMT as it was approaching the pilot station in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. There was contact between Silver Shadow and a local commercial vessel. Silver Shadow incurred limited minor dents and guests’ safety was never compromised. The ship was fully operational and continued on its course to Ha Long Bay, where all shore tours operated normally.”

Lock disputed the cruise line‘s characterization of the incident. “It was a major collision,” he said.

Silversea said it will carry out a full investigation into the incident.

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