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QE2 ship hits a sand bank; SOUTHAMPTON: Cruise passengers woken by 'big bump'.

Byline: By Matt Dickinson

THE QE2 cruise ship ran aground as she came into her home port to make her final call today.

It was reported the vessel touched the bottom at the Brambles sandbank near Calshot, Southampton, with tugs attached to her stern just before 5.30am.

Midland passenger Sheila Denning, from Walsall Wood, near Walsall, was in bed when the ship ran aground.

She said: "We were fast asleep at about six o'clock when I heard a big bump and thought 'what's that?' "We got out of bed and went up on deck to see what was happening.

There were loads of people up there."

Mrs Denning, on holiday with husband Ray, aged 71, said they were due to dock about an hour late.

"We heard the ship had run aground when we turned into the Solent and hit a sand bank." added the 67-year-old grandmother.

"Five tugs came out to push us off.

They were just waiting for the tide to turn. It was quite exciting."

Thousands of people were flocking to Southampton today to bid a fond farewell to the famous vessel.

A spokesman for Solent Coastguard said they were alerted to the 70,000-tonne ship being aground at the entrance of Southampton Water at 5.26am.

She was pulled off just before 6.10am.

The spokesman said: "She has been refloated and is under way under her own power and heading back to her berth in Southampton.

"She had only partially gone aground, and the tugs pulled her off."

The Duke of Edinburgh was due to visit the ship during her final day in port today, with aerial flypasts and a Remembrance Day ceremony involving the dropping of one million poppies also organised.

The ship was heading back to Southampton from a 15-night Mediterranean cruise, with a full complement of 1,700 passengers and 1,000 crew.

A Cunard spokesman said: "Noone on board has been injured. A lot of people will have been in bed when it happened."

The QE2 has been sold to the Nakheel company, which is part of the Dubai World company which bought the vessel for around pounds 50 million.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 11, 2008
Words:360
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