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Last Updated: Monday, 14 February, 2005, 13:14 GMT
Rescue for stricken cruise ship
Voyager cruise ship (pic: V Ships)
The ship was battered by 10-metre waves
A cruise liner with 732 people on board - most of them Spanish - has been crippled by a severe storm in the western Mediterranean.

A French-led rescue operation is under way to reach the stricken Voyager, now about 100km (60 miles) from Menorca.

Several people suffered minor injuries and the ship has lost all engine power, a spokesman for its owner, V Ships of Monaco, told the BBC News website.

It was sailing from Sardinia, on a voyage from Tunis to Barcelona.

The spokesman said the crew were battling to restore engine power and a liquefied gas tanker, the Gimi, was on the scene after receiving the distress call.

Battered by storm

A high wave smashing through the windows of the bridge and damaging electronics is thought to have caused the power cut.

The distress call from the ship said it was taking on water and was in "terrible condition," UK coastguards reported.

They received the message just after 0900 GMT on Monday via the Gimi.

The French coastguards told the BBC that the ship was not on fire and not in danger of sinking.

Two tugs - one Spanish and one French - are travelling to the stricken vessel and hoping to tow it into a French port, they said.

The V Ships spokesman said they would be there within 14 hours.

Several aircraft have also been sent to the scene.

Most of the passengers are Spanish and the ship is chartered to the Barcelona cruise firm Iberojet, the V Ships spokesman said.

"When she does get some engine power back, the crew will turn the vessel into the weather. It is pretty rough out there, so I'm sure it isn't particularly comfortable. Any vessel will be being knocked around a lot," the spokesman said.

The ship, registered in the Bahamas and owned by Horizon Navigation, was built in 2000.

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