Divers to survey damaged liner

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The Independent Online
LOUISE JURY

Divers working for the Cunard cruise line will today take their first close-up look at the damage which was caused to the Royal Viking Sun when it hit a reef. Inspection of the luxury liner will give the disaster-prone company an indication of how quickly the vessel can be returned to service.

The 37,845-ton ship was towed to the Egyptian port of Sharm el Sheikh on Thursday after the below-the-water-line collision in the Red Sea. Although the Royal Viking Sun is widely understood to have hit a coral reef, Cunard maintain that is yet to be confirmed.

A spokesman, Eric Flounders, said: "She is anchored in Sharm el Sheikh. A proper investigation into the damage that has been caused will be carried out next week and we will make a statement then. There is no indication of how the ship got into trouble and any comment would be speculative." He said the company knew nothing of suggestions that it might have to compensate Jordan for any damage to the reef. The collision happened four miles outside a nature reserve.

The last of more than 500 passengers on board when the liner was holed should arrive home today after Cunard organised flights from Egypt over the weekend.

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