Cruise ship evacuated after collision with cargo ship on Waal river

Update 11:15 a.m. - Updated the story to add a statement by shipping company Scylla

A cruise ship collided with a cargo ship, loaded with cars, on the Waal river near Nijmegen at around 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday. The passengers were all shaken, but unharmed, according to local safety office Veiligheidsregio Gelderland-Zuid. Public works service Rijkswaterstaat and the fire department evacuated the cruise ship, ANP reports. 

The collision with the cargo ship pushed the cruise ship into a pillar of the railway bridge over the river. This made a hole in the hull, which caused a fire. The fire was quickly under control. Train traffic was halted for a time as a precaution, while the structural integrity of the pillar was checked .

A police helicopter is flying over Nijmegen and Lent to take pictures of the collision.

There were 240 people on the cruise ship, the MS Edelweiss of Swiss shipping company Scylla - 160 passengers ad 80 crew members. According to the safety office, the passengers were transported ashore by ships from the fire department and Rijkswaterstaat. All crew members stayed on board.

The cause of the accident is not yet known, Scylla said in a press statement. The cargo ship was able to sail to the dock on its own, and a assisting ship was deployed to help bring the cruise ship ashore. 

"All passengers were immediately evacuated by the local emergency services and brought to the city hall of Nijmegen in complete safety", the shipping company said. The company is working on retrieving the passengers' personal belongings from the ship, and another ship from the Scylla fleet will be deployed to accommodate the passengers on the rest of their journey.

"Scylla is grateful to the emergency services for their quick and professional actions. The shipping company is therefore very happy that the safety of the passengers was immediately guaranteed and no physical injuries were sustained by those involved."

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