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Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Ernesto could reach hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall on the Florida mainland. The storm was expected to strengthen as it approached the Keys and southeast Florida as early as Tuesday night exactly one year after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast.

In response cruise ship companies said they were diverting several liners to avoid the storm. Cruise ship companies are obligated to take reasonable care to protect the safety of their passenges. This includes making navigational changes to avoid known or foreseeable hazards such as hurricanes.

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