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All ferried ashore from stranded cruise ship

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Passengers, crew safe on shore; taken to hotel, cruise company says
  • Ship hit something in Intracoastal Waterway off Virginia, began taking on water
  • Captain ran it aground deliberately to avoid sinking, Coast Guard says

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(CNN) -- Sixty-six passengers and crew were transferred to shore on Coast Guard vessels after their cruise ship was run aground off Virginia on Thursday, U.S. Coast Guard officials and the cruise ship company told CNN.

Passengers from the Spirit of Nantucket board a Coast Guard vessel Thursday.

The Spirit of Nantucket hit something in the Intracoastal Waterway around 5:30 a.m. ET and soon began taking on water, according to the law firm representing the cruise ship company, Cruise West.

"Once the captain noticed that the vessel was taking on water, he made the decision ... to run it aground," Petty Officer Chris Evanson of the Coast Guard said on CNN's "Newsroom."

The ship was on a 10-day cruise from Alexandria, Virginia, to Charleston, South Carolina, Evanson said.

The ship "eased onto a mud shoal at the shoreline" about 25 miles south of the Elizabeth River near Norfolk, Virginia, while damage was assessed, the company statement said.

All the passengers and crew on the ship were ferried by Coast Guard vessels to a nearby landing and taken to a hotel, the statement said. Video Watch Coast Guard swing into action at stranded ship »

No injuries were reported, Evanson said, and the company said guests ate breakfast while the Coast Guard readied their departure.

Video from the scene showed the ship crosswise in the waterway, with smaller Coast Guard boats alongside it.

One end of the 207-foot ship nearly reached the tree-lined banks of the waterway. Crews aboard pumped water from the lower level of the ship as an oily sheen spread across the water.

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Coast Guard vessels from Portsmouth, Virginia, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as well as police and fire units from Virginia Beach, responded to the scene, Evanson said.

The cruise ship is lodged about 3 miles into the waterway from the Atlantic Ocean, he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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