Last updated: 12:25 PM ET, Sat June 27 2015

Cruise Ship Collides With Tanker in Dardanelles Strait

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | June 27, 2015

Cruise Ship Collides With Tanker in Dardanelles Strait

Photo via Twitter

Dozing vacationers received quite a jolt early Saturday morning when their cruise ship collided with a tanker off the coast of Turkey at the northern end of the Dardanelles strait.

In a statement, Celestyal Cruises announced that the Maltese flagged MV Celestyal Crystal “had a collision” with Marshall Islands-flagged STI Pimlico at around 1:28 a.m. local time.

The cruise line reported no injuries among the 852 passengers and 382 crew of the Crystal, and all crewmembers of the Pimlico are fine as well.  

However, while Celestyal Cruises said the Crystal just had some structural damage when its bow hit the tanker’s port side, the Pimlico fared worse. According to Turkey SeaNews, the Pimlico suffered an explosion, and her tanks, carrying 30,000 metric tons of extremely volatile jet fuel, became “heavily damaged,” and started leaking. She also took on a 15-degree list.

Ahmet Cinar, governor of the çanakkale province, where the accident happened, said in a press statement that the leaked cargo evaporated when met with the air and therefore there were no pollution occurred at sea surface. But Turkey SeaNews learned that a leakage barrier has been put into place around the vessel just in case.

What’s next for Crystal passengers? Celestyal Cruises said in their statement, “damages must be repaired before the ship can continue with its scheduled cruise itineraries. With the safety and care of our passengers as our utmost priority, we will ensure the smoothest possible disembarkation for those on board since the current cruise will have to be cancelled.” 

According to the statement, an array of tours and passage on alternate ships are being offered to the passengers to replace the Crystal’s now-impossible calls, along with a full refund, plus the offer of a complimentary 7-day cruise, valid until the end of 2016.

Cinar said that Crystal passengers are being evacuated by ferry to nearby Gallipoli, where mobile customs teams have been specially assembled to process them.  

Turkey SeaNews declared it “too early” to say how the accident happened.

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