(Updates to say boat has returned to port)
By Laila Kearney
Feb 10 (Reuters) - A Royal Caribbean cruise ship battered by an Atlantic storm returned to its New Jersey port late on Wednesday, where the U.S. Coast Guard plans to investigate what went wrong.
The Coast Guard said in a statement it could conduct an investigation together with authorities from the Bahamas where the ship is registered to determine “causal factors or lessons learned from this event that could help prevent injuries or damage in the future.”
An ABC news broadcast showed the ship coming into port on Wednesday night at about 9 p.m. EST, with airhorns sounding and passengers waving.
The Anthem of the Seas left on Saturday with 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, for what was supposed to have been a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas.
On Sunday it was hit by high winds and 30-foot (9 meter) waves off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, cutting short the cruise.
At least four people suffered minor injuries as the storm toppled furniture, collapsed ceilings and shattered glass on the vessel.
Royal Caribbean said the storm was more severe than expected.
The company said in a statement that the ship’s operation was not affected, but concerns about more rough weather prompted the decision to return to port rather than continue.
Among other duties, the Coast Guard said it would inspect the ship to determine the extent of the damage and ensure all repairs are made before the vessel’s next trip.
Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe said such inspections and investigations are not unusual.
The vessel is set to dock at about at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT Thursday). (Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York and Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; editing by Bill Trott and Tom Brown)