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Crown Princess Investigation Continues

July 24, 2006 By: Susan Young Travel Agent

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and U.S. Coast Guard safety specialists continue to investigate why the new Crown Princess suddenly "listed" 15 degrees to one side while sailing off Florida's coast last week. That tilting incident injured more than 200 passengers, although only a handful had serious injuries and all are expected to recover. Before the accident, investigators say the crew reported a steering problem aboard the 113,000-ton vessel. But after NTSB and Coast Guard investigators sailed on the ship from Florida to New York late last week, they found it mechanically safe. Crown Princess was cleared to return to service, although the Coast Guard is requiring the crew to manually steer the ship (not use the autopilot) while in waters less than 164 feet deep. The autopilot was engaged at the time of last week's incident. Crown Princess embarked guests for a new, shortened cruise from New York on Saturday. All guests received a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare to compensate for two days cut out of the schedule, due to a delay last week while investigators inspected the ship. Passengers who chose to cancel their cruise received a full refund. But the incident apparently did not dampen the enthusiasm of most booked on the ship. Princess said Crown Princess sailed from New York at 85 percent of its full capacity of 3,000 passengers. The final government report on the incident's cause won't be available for several months, according to NTSB and Coast Guard investigators.

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