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Around 154 passengers and 40 staff members were safely evacuated from a river cruise ship over the weekend after it started sinking.

The 110-metre, MS Britannia was sailing on the Ijessel River near the Dutch city of Zutphen when it started taking in water from a hole that had formed in the stern of the ship.

The cause of the leak is unknown, however, Dutch emergency services spokesperson Robert Spijkerman told the AFP that it was “large”.

He said emergency services were requited to pump out the water to prevent the ship from sinking.

Meanwhile, passengers onboard – mostly German and Austrian pensioners – were taken to a nightclub for the night where they received shelter. They were later taken to a local hotel.

MS Britannia is operated by German company, Nicko Tours, which specialises in European river cruises.

Keep an eye on updates on Cruise Passenger.