Luxury Cruise Ship Runs Aground in UNESCO World Heritage Site

Photo courtesy Sea Shepherd Panama
Photo courtesy Sea Shepherd Panama

A luxury cruise ship has suffered damaged after running aground in a marine preserve off Panama’s Pacific coast.

Windstar Cruises confirms that its 9,975 grt cruise ship Star Pride ran aground at about 6:15 a.m. on December 22nd while coming into anchor at Isla de Coiba, Panama for a shore excursion. The company said that the ship suffered damage to its hull, rendering the vessel unable to sail.

gCaptain has learned that the engine room is flooded with several inches of water.

All passengers were transferred to another Windstar vessel and taken to Costa Rica.

Windstar said that it has dispatched a technical team to evaluate the vessel on site in Isla de Coiba. The vessel is still expected to be to be towed to the port of Balboa for inspections and repairs. As of Monday, it was still unclear if the vessel remained aground or if has been moved from the grounding location. 

Coiba is the largest in a group of 38 islands that make up Coiba National Park, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.

The environmental group Sea Shepherd Panama said Thursday it was monitoring the situation and looking for any damage done to the environment. 

The ship’s next cruise schedule for December 26th has been cancelled. Windstar Cruises has also cancelled Star Pride’s January 2nd and and January 9th voyages. 

The Star Pride is one of six “yachts” operated by Windstar and can carry 212 passengers.

The grounding is under investigation by the Bahamas Maritime Authority as the flag state.