PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has called on the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate circumstances surrounding the decision of Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas to sail into "the heart of a hurricane-force storm this weekend."
"Why in the world is a ship going anywhere close to where the hurricane could be?" Nelson, who made the call in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, said. "I want the National Transportation Safety Board to come up with a quick report."
Nelson cited similarities between Sunday's incident and an incident last year involving the cargo ship El Faro, which sank after it sailed into the path of a hurricane while traveling from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico.
"I want the National [Transportation] Safety Board to come up with answers very quickly and make an admonition to mariners: when the storm is brewing, you don't go out of port," Nelson said.
The ship was sailing down the U.S. East Coast when it encountered the storm. Officials said winds gusted over 100 mph at the height of the bad weather and four passengers suffered minor injuries.
Passengers said they were told to stay in their staterooms for their safety.
The ship turned around to head back to its home port of Cape Liberty, New Jersey, Monday, instead of continuing on its way to Port Canaveral.
Cruise line officials said guests will receive a full refund and certificates toward a future cruise.
Anthem of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's newest ships, and it's among the largest cruise ships in the world. The vessel can hold nearly 5,000 passengers.