Luxury cruise trapped in South Korea
September 15 2013 10:44 PM

AFP/Seoul

Hundreds of Chinese cruise tourists were returning home via emergency flights yesterday after their ship was stranded in South Korea for days following a legal dispute.

The 47,000-tonnes cruise Henna - carrying some 1,600 passengers and 650 crews - has been held at South Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju since its arrival on Friday. The luxury liner set off from China’s northeastern port of Tianjin on Friday to sail around the Korean peninsula before returning six days later.

But a Jeju court banned the ship from leaving after a seizure request was made by Hong Kong-based Shagang Shipping following a “dispute,” the Beijing-based operator of the ship, HNA Cruise, said in a statement. The company did not elaborate on the details of the dispute.

A South Korean agent of HNA Cruise said it had chartered eight flights using a 290-seat capacity plane between Jeju and Beijing throughout yesterday.

“Hundreds” were leaving via flights yesterday while some others may choose to return home in the ship when it is released, the agent added.

HNA Cruise was in the process of paying a deposit of 3bn won ($2.7mn) to the Jeju court to secure the release of the ship, Yonhap news agency said.

The Chinese company was also preparing compensation plans for the passengers, HNA Cruise said in the statement on Saturday.

 

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