Carnival Cruise ship has technical issue causing ship to dramatically tilt to one side: 'It was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic.'

Panic ensued aboard a Carnival Cruise when the ship listed to one side, sending dishes and furniture flying.  (iStock)

Chaos and panic took over a Carnival cruise after the ship listed badly to one side shortly after leaving port Sunday evening.

The Carnival Sunshine was only a few hours offshore from Port Canaveral on the eastern coast of Florida when an issue with the fin stabilizer caused the dramatic tilt.

Fin stabilizers are found on each side of a ship at the bottom of the hull and provide resistance to the “excess rolling of the ship in either direction,” according to Marine Insight.

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Passengers on board said dishes went flying, glasses were breaking and furniture started to slide.

"I didn't think anything of it, since it's not uncommon for ships to rock back and forth. But it didn't rock back. It kept leaning," David Crews told News 6. "Plates and silverware started sliding off the tables. Then the tables themselves started to slide. Glasses and plates started to fall and shatter. At this point, it was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic."

The ship returned to a more upright position and the cruise continued on as scheduled. Carnival issued an apology letter to guests on board, as well as a statement explaining what exactly caused the alarming incident, News 6 reports.

“On Sunday evening, Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list. There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation.

“Following the incident, evening events resumed for our guests. Carnival Sunshine proceeded on its Caribbean cruise as scheduled. We are very sorry for the disruption this caused. The ship remains fully operational and will sail as scheduled.  We remain confident of the safety of the ship as we are committed to the safety of our guests and crew.”

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Passengers on board tweeted about the scary incident.

News 6 reports that some passengers chose to cut their trip short, flying home when the ship docked in the Dominican Republic Tuesday.

Carnival Cruise did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.

Michelle Gant is a writer and editor for Fox News Lifestyle.

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