|National Geographic Sea Lion|
By Theresa Norton Masek - www.travelpulse.com
Lindblad Expeditions’ expedition ship National Geographic Sea Lion struck an uncharted rock in Panama’s Las Perlas Islands at about 12:30 p.m. March 4. The next scheduled departure, March 9-16, has been canceled while repairs are made, but the company expects the ship back in service for its March 16 departure from Colon, Panama.
No injuries were reported to the 55 passengers and 35 crew members on board, although family members were notified. The vessel sustained damage to the hull and one propeller but was cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard and returned to Panama City on its own power, arriving at 5 a.m. March 5.
The vessel will go into dry dock at Panama City on March 6 for repairs. The accident occurred on the third day of an eight-day voyage transiting the Panama Canal and exploring the islands of Panama and Costa Rica.
Passengers were offered the chance to continue their trip to Costa Rica by air and land, or to return home. All but 16 chose to continue and flew to San Jose, Costa Rica. Guests who returned home will be given a full refund, including airfare. Those who continued the trip will receive a $2,500 refund.