Updated: 16/05/11 : 07:33:04
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World :: UK-Based Cruise Ship Crippled By Engine Blast

A cruise ship is being towed through the Baltic sea after a massive power failure.

Tugs were sent to rescue the 59,000-ton MSC Opera after a blast in the engine left her powerless and adrift.

Tim Schwabedissen, of the shipping website vesseltracker.com, said: "The MSC Opera with 2,000 people on board is being towed to Visby without power and very poor hygiene with the bathrooms inoperable after there was an explosion in an engine on May 13, 2011.

"The captain tried to continue the voyage with one remaining main engine, but this failed.

"On May 15 tugs were called to pull the vessel to Visby where the battered vessel was due to arrive May 16 morning (today). Meanwhile, a team from MSC Cruises was sent to Sweden to assist the passengers."

On Sunday night, the ship's operator issued a statement saying there were "technical problems to an electrical panel".

It said the 856-cabin vessel was diverted towards the port of Nynamshamn, Sweden, where it would arrive late this morning. (Mon 16 May)

The German newspaper Bild reported one passenger as saying: "There is no electricity and no water, so the toilets are dirty. The hallways are dark and there is no air conditioning."

The statement from MSC said: "Tugboats are on the way to assist the ship while technicians of STX (the construction yard) continue their effort to resolve the electrical problem.

"Not being able to offer to its guests the usual standards of service, MSC is organising the repatriation of all guests tomorrow from Stockholm.

"MSC is issuing to all passengers a credit voucher for the whole amount of the cruise to be enjoyed by December 2012."

The Opera is based in Southampton for 2011 and marketed in Britain for people who prefer not to fly to a departure port.

Its sister ship MSC Melody made the news earlier this month after it came to like that a German holidaymaker thwarted a Somali pirate attack by hurling a deckchair at the gun-toting outlaws.