The Coast Guard is responding to a cruise ship that ran aground this morning after taking on water in the Intercoastal Waterway in Virginia Beach.
The Coast Guard reports there are 66 people aboard The Spirit of Nantucket, and they have donned personal flotation devices for their safety.
Authorities say the ship began taking on water and the captain purposely ran it aground to prevent the ship from sinking.
Two 25-foot rescue crews and a 41-foot utility boat from Coast Guard Station's Elizabeth City and Portsmouth, Virginia Beach Police Department, Virginia State Police Department and a Chesapeake marine unit are responding.
De-watering pumps have been lowered from an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter based at Elizabeth City to assist with removal of excess water.
The 178-foot ship was on a 10-day cruise from Alexandria, Va. to Charleston, S.C. Their are no reports of injuries.
The Coast Guard says passengers will be transferred to the Pungo Ferry Marina on Coast Guard small boats. Arrangements have been made by Cruise West to take the passengers to a local hotel.