January 20, 2006

Queen Mary 2 departs after Coast Guard gives the OK

Queen Mary 2 departs after Coast Guard gives the OK

By Angela Tablac
The world's largest cruise ship was finally allowed to leave the port early this morning, two days after a hitting a sea wall and damaging part of the propulsion system, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Queen Mary 2 planned to sail last night at dinner time, and then by midnight, after crews inspected the damaged system and concluded the ship could sail.
But those plans were on hold until the ship's damaged motor propellor could be removed, Coast Guard Petty Officer Dana Warr said Thursday. Steps to put the motor out-of-service were completed ''sometime early this morning,'' Warr added, and the ship left around 6 or 7 a.m.
Even while the ship is at sea, the Coast Guard continues to examine how the luxury liner hit an underwater channel as it tried to leave Port Everglades Tuesday afternoon.
''We have determined the vessel is safe for voyage and for the passengers, but the cause and the reason and who's at fault is still under investigation,'' Warr said.
On Wednesday night, passengers partied, ate and relaxed, but instead of taking in the views of South America, they saw views of the Fort Lauderdale area.
Divers inspected the systems Wednesday and confirmed that one of the ship's four propulsion motors had been damaged from hitting the channel wall.
While one of the four motors will be inoperable because of the damage, Cunard Line, the ship's owner, said the ship can operate without a problem on the three remaining engines, and cleared the ship to resume a 38-day voyage around South America, ending in Los Angeles on Feb. 22.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday, the ship was just a few miles offshore when the captain noticed a problem with one of the ship's engines. A light on the cruise's instrument panel indicated the problem to the captain.
Cunard said the ship stopped offshore and performed engine checks for a few hours, but engineers decided the ship could not continue, so the decision was made to return the Queen Mary 2 to its berth at Port Everglades.
Cunard is owned by Miami-based

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