Cruise ship hits reef, crew and passengers evacuated

La Belle des Oceans. Credit: CroisiEurope

The Royal Thai Navy evacuated more than 140 people from a cruise ship that hit a reef off Krabi in the early hours of 25 November 2019.

The 1989-built 5,218 gt ship, La Belle des Oceans, had departed Singapore on 23 November for Koh Lanta and was carrying 77 passengers, most of them French tourists and crew.

French river cruise operator CroisiEurope, which operates La Belle des Oceans, had just acquired the ship in August 2019.

On the night of 24 November, La Belle des Oceans left Koh Lanta for Phuket. At about 00:00h on 25 November, however, the ship hit submerged rocks near Koh Bida Nok, part of the Phi Phi Islands group in Krabi province.

A statement from the Royal Thai Navy said, “We received a call to help the passengers and crew to get to shore at Phuket.”

A naval vessel was sent to La Belle des Oceans, which was assisted towards Phuket.

The navy said that La Belle des Oceans had 78 French tourists, one German tourist, and 70 crew members.

The sector was part of a round-trip excursion from Singapore to the resort island. La Belle des Oceans’ next sailing was scheduled for 26 November, but it was cancelled.

CroisiEurope issued a statement saying that the incident occurred at the end of the last sailing, with passengers due to spend a final night on board the ship, but instead the company arranged for them to stay in a hotel in Phuket.

CroisiEurope will be offering passengers compensation.

The company said, “Following [Sunday’s] incident, the crew made sure the safety of the passengers was carried out under the required safety regulations and it all went smoothly. The passengers were not affected.

“After a few hours without moving, the ship was able to carry on cruising to Phuket and disembark the 77 passengers on board.

“The [disembarkation] went perfectly smoothly, under the best possible conditions and the situation is under control.”