QE2 liner runs aground on final farewell

A ferry sails past the Queen Elizabeth 2, one of the most famous cruise ships in the world, in Hong Kong in this file photo from March 7, 2005. REUTERS/Bobby Yip BY/TW

LONDON (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth 2, one of the world’s most famous ocean liners, ran aground briefly off the south coast on Tuesday on her final farewell voyage.

The Cunard ship, which in her 39 years of service has sailed 5.9 million nautical miles, completed 806 trans-atlantic crossings and carried more than 2.5 million guests, ran into a sandbank as she was coming into her home port of Southampton.

“She touched a sandbank... but she’s now clear and is on her way into port,” Cunard spokesman Eric Flounders said. “She will be delayed by about 25 minutes.”

He said the accident was “no more than a little bump” and there were no reports of any damage or injuries.

The liner reached her home port of Southampton at around 7:25 a.m. , where she is due to receive a farewell visit from the Duke of Edinburgh.

Later the vessel will set off on her final voyage to Dubai where she will become a first class hotel and entertainment centre.

The QE2, which also served as a hospital ship transporting injured troops during the 1982 Falkland War, has carried many hundreds of famous passengers, among them Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope and Paul Newman and British royalty including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Reporting by Kate Kelland. Editing by Tim Castle