Bridge officer's error blamed for cruise ship's sudden list



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The sudden lurch of the Crown Princess cruise ship last week that sent 94 passengers to the hospital was caused by a bridge officer's mistake, Princess Cruises said yesterday.

But in an open letter to passengers posted on the Web site of Los Angeles-based Princess Cruises, President Alan Buckelew said human error was the cause and "the appropriate personnel changes have been made."

Princess, declining to specify those changes, said the error was not made by the ship's captain, who continues to command the $500 million vessel, but by another officer who is no longer on active duty.

Several officers besides the captain of a cruise ship are typically qualified to steer, including the staff captain and first officer.

On July 18, the 3,100-passenger Crown Princess suddenly listed 15 degrees to the side for about 30 seconds as it left Port Canaveral on its way to New York. The tilt sent objects and people cascading across the decks, and 240 passengers received medical treatment on board.

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