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October 20, 2010

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Damaged ship to sail for Singapore after repair work

THE damaged Italian cruise ship Costa Classica is expected to set sail for Singapore later this week, sources said yesterday.

The 220-meter-long ship, which collided with a cargo ship on Monday at the mouth of the Yangtze River, left Shanghai's Waigaoqiao Port yesterday morning and headed to Changxing Island, where the majority of the city's shipbuilding industry is based.

Workers there will carry out emergency repairs, which are expected to be completed in four days.

Engineers with the China Shipping Industry Co said the priority "is to restore the ship's sailing ability."

After arriving in Singapore, remaining repairs will be completed. This includes welding work on decks and rebuilding cabins.

Meanwhile, the ship's owner, Costa, is still in talks with travel agencies and passengers about compensation. No agreements have been reached.

Costa has operated cruise trips from Shanghai ports for nearly five years and it's the first local collision reported.

Passengers injured in the collision have been discharged from hospital.

Half of the ship's passengers were foreigners and they were provided hotel rooms in Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province.

Some domestic tourists were asked to return home.

A manager with, China's biggest online travel agency, said they "were talking with Costa about the aftermath."

Ctrip organized a trip on Costa Classica for more than 100 people.

Some travel agencies said they received complaints that there was no explanation about the emergency in which passengers were ordered to put on life jackets and assemble on deck.

The ship's next trip, which was scheduled to begin on Monday, was canceled soon after the collision.

Before the collision, 44 passengers went missing after the ship stopped at Jeju Island in South Korea.

Police said 11 were found, but that 33 were still missing.

South Korean police said the missing passengers may be trying to stay in the country illegally.

Most of the missing come from northeastern China.

Police said they are still investigating the case.


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