Rough seas and high winds leave 2,000 passengers aboard the Coral Princess cruise ship stranded 40km off Brisbane
A cruise ship carrying 2,000 passengers is stranded off Brisbane and the boat cannot dock due to heavy swells and rough seas.
The Coral Princess was prevented from entering Brisbane Harbor with waves of up to 6.5 meters recorded as passengers shared footage of the boat rocking and water overflowing from the ship’s swimming pools.
The passengers are now stuck with the boat idling about 40 kilometers offshore.
The boat is the same ship that made headlines last week when it arrived in Sydney with around 120 positive cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
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Caloundra Coastguard has asked the vessel to stay a safe distance from shore until the waters inside the harbor calm down.
The seven-day cruise along the Queensland and New South Wales coast was due to end on Friday, but Princess Cruises confirmed passengers are likely to remain on the ship through Saturday.
“The Port of Brisbane remains closed to shipping and pilotage services also remain suspended due to the current heavy swell at the pilotage station,” Princess Cruises told SkyNews.com.au.
“Pilot service is unlikely to resume before midday today (Saturday), which would mean a late afternoon arrival for Coral Princess at the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.”
The passengers had visited Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas during the trip and Princess Cruises said they were “well looked after” and received regular updates on developments.
“Guests who were scheduled to board Coral Princess yesterday for a similar cruise itinerary are also being regularly updated on developments with upcoming advice on the impact on their itinerary,” Princess Cruises said.
Queensland is being hit by wild weather and major storms, with large parts of the southeast inundated by floodwaters.
Several large ships have been forced to stay offshore for safety reasons, but the Coral Princess is the only passenger vessel.
“They have all been instructed to float or drift, but the Coral Princess, because it has passengers on board, is unable to do so,” Caloundra Coast Guard Commander Roger Pearce told the ABC.
“So it’s just driving around in the car, in circles at very low speeds, so it keeps moving.”
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a strong sea wind warning for Saturday for the Capricorn Coast, Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast waters and Gold Coast waters.
A strong wind warning was also issued for Sunday for the Fraser Island coast, Sunshine Coast waters and Gold Coast waters.
Currently, it is not known when the Coral Princess will be able to dock.