The Latest: Weather forecast called for storm-force winds

AP News
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Posted: Feb 08, 2016 5:16 PM
The Latest: Weather forecast called for storm-force winds

MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on a cruise ship that was damaged in bad weather in the Atlantic Ocean (all times local):

5 p.m.

The National Weather Service says its Ocean Prediction Center was alerting for a strong storm four days in advance of a cruise ship running into trouble in the Atlantic.

Weather service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan says the forecast for the Hatteras Canyon to Cape Fear area called for storm-force winds as early as Wednesday morning, with winds for Sunday expected to be 40-55 knots (about 51-63 mph) and seas to 20 feet.

The first official warning for the area the ship was scheduled to sail through came Saturday afternoon. It included a warning for hurricane force winds, in effect through Sunday night.

Sen. Bill Nelson on Monday called on the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the circumstances surrounding a Royal Caribbean cruise ship's decision to sail into the storm.

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2:25 p.m.

A passenger on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that ran into high winds and rough seas in the Atlantic says he saw water flowing down staircases and people trapped in an elevator — but he'd go on another cruise in a heartbeat.

Jacob Ibrag of Queens, New York, said via Skype Monday that he felt waves rocking the ship Anthem of the Seas on Sunday afternoon as he grabbed food on a top deck. He shot some video, then went to his cabin — but he first stopped to help some passengers climb out of an elevator that had stopped between floors.

He says he stayed in his cabin until noon Monday, at one point filling his backpack with essentials in case of an evacuation. He says he's relieved the ship is returning to its New Jersey home port.

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Noon

A Port Canaveral official says a cruise ship that was damaged as it sailed through a storm will arrive there early Tuesday morning — nearly 24 hours later than originally planned.

Port Canaveral spokeswoman Rosalind Harvey says in an email that officials there been told the ship Anthem of the Seas will arrive at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Royal Caribbean has not released a docking time for the ship, and spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez has said via email that she doesn't have an updated arrival time. Originally, she said, the ship was supposed to arrive at noon Monday.

According to a cruise line statement, no passengers were injured as the ship encountered high winds and rough seas. Royal Caribbean says the ship was damaged in some public areas and staterooms but was safe to remain at sea. The ship had departed from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Saturday.

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Noon

The executive editor of the Detroit Free Press is aboard a cruise ship that suffered minor damage as it sailed through a storm, forcing passengers to their cabins for safety, and he's been posting to social media since the inclement weather hit.

Robert Huschka is on the Royal Caribbean ship Anthem of the Seas with his wife, son and friends. About 11 a.m. Sunday, before the worst of the storm, he posted a photo on Instagram of his son. The caption reads: "Someone likes the bouncy boat,"

Then, a few hours later, he tweeted: "Well, our cruise ship drove right into a storm. It's so rocky they are making us stay in our cabins."

Monday morning: he posted: "The good news? They never lost the Super Bowl signal. Perfect TV picture throughout storm!" He also posted photos of shattered glass panels on a pool deck.

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11:05 a.m.

A passenger says she was "shaking all over" and suffering panic attacks as her Royal Caribbean cruise ship experienced high wind and rough seas while sailing from New Jersey to Port Canaveral in Florida.

The storm struck the ship Anthem of the Seas on Sunday, and Royal Caribbean officials say it was damaged but still safe to be at sea.

Shara Strand of New York City says she's been on 20 cruises but never experienced that kind of weather. She said via Facebook that she "thought we were done for," describing 30-foot waves rocking the ship.

Strand says passengers haven't been notified when they'll arrive at Port Canaveral. Royal Caribbean has said the ship will be delayed, arriving later than its original scheduled time of noon, but hasn't given other details.

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10:55 a.m.

A passenger aboard a cruise ship that was damaged in rough seas says the weather forced people to stay in their cabins as items flew across the rooms, but she says the storm calmed less than 12 hours later.

Gabriella Lairson said via Facebook on Monday that the storm started about 3 p.m. Sunday. She says the captain of the Royal Caribbean ship Anthem of the Seas instructed everyone to go to their staterooms. Sixteen-year-old Lairson and her father — — of Ocean City, New Jersey — heard glasses in their bathroom shatter, and they put belongings in drawers and closets to prevent them from flying across the room.

Video that her father, Sam Lairson, shot shows wave after wave rising outside the balcony.

He says in an email, "The winds were so strong that I thought the phone would blow from my hands."

Gabriella Lairson says that by about 1:30 a.m. Monday, the storm had calmed.

She praised the captain and crew and says the ship held up well, with damage in only a few places.

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10:30 a.m.

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship ran into high winds and rough seas in the Atlantic Ocean, forcing passengers to stay in their cabins, but no injuries were reported.

Royal Caribbean said in a statement Monday that the ship Anthem of the Seas was damaged in some public areas and guest staterooms. Royal Caribbean didn't describe the damages but says the ship's safe to be at sea. The statement doesn't say where or when the ship encountered the bad weather.

The ship was headed to Port Canaveral, Florida. Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez says in an email that a noon arrival had been planned, but the weather caused a delay. She says she doesn't have an updated arrival time. She says passengers were asked to stay in their rooms and given complimentary access to their minibars.

According to Royal Caribbean's website, the ship departed from Cape Liberty, New Jersey.