Society Expeditions ship grounded

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Society Expeditions' World Discoverer ran aground April 30 on a beach off the Solomon Islands.

The ship was intentionally grounded after striking an uncharted coral reef in the Pacific Ocean. There were no injuries.

The ship's 99 passengers -- comprised of 47 Americans, 44 Germans and eight Britons -- were taken ashore by lifeboat, after which a local excursion vessel took them to the capital city of Honiara.

The passengers and crew spent May 1 in hotels in Honiara waiting for Society Expeditions to make arrangements for their return home. At press time the company had not released terms of those arrangements.

World Discoverer's captain beached the ship to safely evacuate passengers and crew, Michael Lomax, the company's president, told New Zealand's National Radio.

The ship has not leaked oil, gasoline or any pollutants in the water, said Lomax. The vessel remains grounded on a beach 20 miles north of Honiara.

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