Passenger Ship Sinks Off Virginia, Crew Rescued

Wednesday, December 20, 2000
A Panamanian-flagged ship carrying a crew of 34, but no passengers, sank off the coast of Virginia on Sunday after its engine room flooded, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said two helicopters rescued the crew from the Sea Breeze I shortly before the 600-ft. vessel sank.

The spokeswoman added the Coast Guard received a distress signal from the ship on Sunday, saying it had lost an engine and its engine room was flooding.

The Sea Breeze I, which is owned by International Shipping Partners of Miami, was about 200 miles east of Cape Charles, Virginia.

"It is a cruise ship but only crew members were on board. We don't know where it was headed," the spokeswoman said.

In addition to the two helicopters, the Coast Guard dispatched two C-130 Hercules aircraft for the rescue effort.

The crew was expected to arrive at the Oceana Naval Air Station Sunday afternoon.

There was no immediate word on the sinking from the ship's owner and no immediate information on the exact cause.

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