More than 600 rescued off stranded cruise ship in the Baltic Sea

A German cruise ship ran aground on a sand bank in the middle of the Baltic Sea yesterday, leaving close to 1,000 passengers stranded. Today, 640 were evacuated by local coast guard authorities in a massive salvaging operation, the Associated Press reports.

The passengers, who were not injured, where taken to the nearest city, Ventspils, in Latvia and from there are being transported to the country’s capital, Riga.

That’s where they wanted to go, as it turns out. The cruisers, mostly Germans, had left the northwestern German port of Kiel and were bound for Riga.

About 300 passengers are currently onboard, at the order of the Greek captain of the cruise ship. The ship is currently stuck about 10 miles off the Latvian coast. No word yet when they might be evacuated, but reports say a powerful tug boat is on its way to try to dislodge the ship from the sand bank.

The ship has not been damaged, and the cause for running aground has not been determined.