Windstar Cruises Vessel Runs Aground in Panama
Photo via Facebook/Sea Shepherd Panama
Star Pride, a small luxury vessel operated by Windstar Cruises ran aground in a remote region of Panama a few days before Christmas, cutting the sailing short, canceling the ship’s scheduled Dec. 26 cruise and putting a question mark on sailings further down the line.
According to a statement on the Windstar Cruises Facebook page, Star Pride was “coming into anchor” at Isla de Coiba, off the coast of Panama shortly after 6 a.m. CST on Dec. 22 when she “experienced a grounding.” The cruise line said all passengers and crew were safe after the incident, and guests left the ship as scheduled for the day’s private island event. Windstar said its technical team performed an inspection “and identified some areas of the hull that are damaged, making the ship unable to sail.”
gCaptain reported that the engine room became flooded with several inches of water.
After the discovery of this damage, the cruise was canceled. But now the passengers were stuck without a ship in what Windstar called a “remote location” with a “lack of infrastructure in the area, and the lack of other support vessels.”
So the company arranged for two nearby vessels to ferry passengers back to the mainland — sister ship Star Breeze and Paul Gauguin Cruises’ Tere Moana.
Windstar said Star Pride guests could spend the rest of their vacation in San Jose, Costa Rica, (the final transfer point) or fly home early. The cruise company said passengers were “refunded 100 percent of their voyage, as well as a 100 percent of cruise fare paid for future cruise credit.”
As for Star Pride itself, inspection and repairs are being carried out at the port of Balboa in Panama, according to Windstar.
Isla de Coiba is largest of 38 islands that make up Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Local environmental group Sea Shepherd Panama said in its own Facebook post that the ship “hit some slightly submerged rocks while attempting to navigate through a shallow channel,” and repairs were being made in place before it could move on to Balboa.
Calling it a “delicate ecosystem,” Sea Shepherd said, “it is unknown how much damage has been done to the reef and marine life at the site of impact.”
For more Impacting Travel News
More by Michael Isenbek
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship
Airlines & Airports