5 Sep 2005

Grounded cruise ship to be freed from New Caledonian reef this morning

6:59 am on 5 September 2005

An Australian cruise ship with more than 1,700 people on board has run onto a reef in the south of New Caledonia.

Maritime authorities in Noumea say the Pacific Sky suffered engine problems and drifted onto the reef of Bayonnaise near the isle of Pines.

Police divers have checked the 240-metre long vessel and found it suffered no damage.

The news agency AFP says the incident occurred in calm conditions and all on board are safe.

Two tugs are due to arrive from Noumea this morning to free the ship, which is owned by the Australian company P&O.