Waves along California force cruise ship to change course

AP News
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Posted: May 03, 2015 9:15 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Big waves along the Southern California coast on Sunday forced a cruise ship to change course and led to at least 16 rescues, authorities said.

The Carnival Imagination was forced to dock in San Diego because the high surf and long swells in Long Beach could make it unsafe to keep a ship's gangway connected and potentially stress the ship's mooring lines, Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement.

"Therefore, in the interest of caution, the cruise ship ... deviated to San Diego," the statement said.

Passengers scheduled to sail on the next cruise were bused from Long Beach to San Diego.

The National Weather Service said a storm off New Zealand churned big waves along the Southern California coastline, creating dangerous rip currents and waves reaching 5 to 10 feet, with occasional sets up to 12 feet at south-facing beaches. A high-surf advisory warning of dangerous swimming conditions was in effect through Tuesday. Forecasters said the highest surf will peak on Monday.

On the shore of the Wedge in Newport Beach, surfers flocked to ride 12- to 14-foot waves on Sunday.

Lifeguards rescued at least 16 people from the water, said Mike Halphide, the city's lifeguard battalion chief.