17 Dec 2002

Luxury cruise liner migh be sunk in French Polynesia rather than repaired

11:16 am on 17 December 2002

Reports from French Polynesia say a luxury cruise liner which caught fire at the beginning of this month may be sunk rather than repaired.

The Windsong suffered an engine-room fire off Raiatea, forcing it to be abandoned by all 127 passengers and most crew.

It took three days to put out the blaze.

The French Navy subsequently towed the ship into Papeete harbour and efforts were made to prepare it for a tow to New Zealand or Singapore for major repairs.

But the Tahiti Presse news agency quotes shipping sources as saying that the damage is so extensive that its US owners, Windstar, plan to scuttle the liner instead.

Meanwhile, a former Renaissance cruise ship, Tahitian Princess, is also expected in the Papeete harbour later this week to take over Windsong's cruises.

It will also cruise to Rarotonga in the Cook islands and Pago Pago in American Samoa.