SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Former President Jimmy Carter and nearly 2,000 fellow passengers finally left on a Caribbean cruise today, delayed nearly 24 hours by a grounded freighter that trapped the world's largest cruise liner in San Juan harbor.
The grounding Tuesday night clogged traffic in and out of the harbor, disrupting the Caribbean holidays of about 10,000 North American and European tourists.
The Coast Guard said efforts to float the container ship Long Beach off rocks at the morning high tide failed and tugs later tried to pull her off. When that was unsuccessful, port authorities allowed ships inside and outside the harbor to maneuver their way through the channel one at a time.
The 74,000-ton Sovereign of the Sea, which was one of seven vessels stranded in the harbor overnight, finally steamed out this afternoon, moving slowly past the grounded Long Beach. Two other cruise ships were to leave later.
Carter, wife Rosalynn, daughter and three sons with their wives and children, boarded the Sovereign of the Sea on Tuesday night for a seven-day Caribbean cruise. The Norwegian-flagged ship, belonging to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, is the largest cruise ship in the world and is on its maiden voyage.