Lindblad Expeditions has confirmed that its ship, the National Geographic Sea Lion, struck a rock on 4 March at around 12:30pm local time.
The vessel, which was sailing from Las Perlas Islands – around 70 nautical miles from Panama City – hit the uncharted rock while departing an anchorage from the islands.
There were 55 passengers and 35 crew members onboard – all of whom were evacuated safely. There were no injuries and family members have been notified.
The Lindblad vessel sustained damage to the hull and the propeller on the third day of an eight-day Panama Canal voyage but was still able to return to Panama City on its own power supply
All guests were given the opportunity to either continue their journey to Costa Rica by air and land or return home. Overall just 16 guests elected to return – with the majority deciding to fly on to Costa Rica. There will also be a US$2,500 refund for those who complete their journey by air and land.
The company has also cancelled its 9-16 March departure but will return for the voyage which departs on 16 March from Colon, Panama.