Former Cruise Ship Drifts Aground Off Port of Alvarado, Mexico

enchanted capri
Enchanted Capri, seen here as the Azerbaydzhan (Azerbaijan), undated file image

Published Nov 4, 2020 4:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

The accommodations ship Enchanted Capri has gone aground on a beach in Alvarado, Veracruz after dragging anchor in foul weather. 

The Capri has been inactive and off contract, and she was brought to Coatzacoalcos for demolition in mid-October. However, the commercial arrangements changed, and she departed Coatzacoalcos under tow on October 25, bound for Tampico.

She diverted to Alvarado during the voyage instead, and she was anchored off the port on Monday afternoon when a strong cold front arrived, bringing winds of up to 50 knots. Capri dragged anchor and ended up on a sandy shore outside of the port, according to local civil protection officials.

Four crewmembers were on board the vessel, and they were safely rescued shortly after the grounding. Together with a ship recycling company in Alvarado, local authorities are working on a plan to refloat her, tow her off the beach and bring her in to port for dismantling.

Enchanted Capri began her commercial life in 1975 as the cruise ship Azerbaydzhan, the third in a five-ship series built by the Wärtsilä Turku Shipyard in Finland for the Soviet Union's Black Sea Shipping Company. After her original owner went defunct, she was chartered by a series of cruise operators, including Commodore Cruise Line. When Commodore went bankrupt in 2001, she was chartered (and later sold) to Mexican offshore operator Demar Instaladora y Constructora for use as a floating accommodations unit for the offshore sector. 

As recently as two years ago, Enchanted Capri was slated to become a floating retirement community. In 2018, startup cruise operator Cruise Retirement said that she was undergoing a refurbishment plan featuring a theater, a fitness center, beauty salon, library, casino, swimming pool, netted golf practice range, shops and a fine dining restaurant, along with "fully staffed medical facilities." Her demolition was announced in October.