Dutch emergency workers battle to save sinking cruise ship
"All 154 passengers and 40 crew members have been evacuated from the ship and we're trying to pump out water to prevent her from sinking," Spijkerman told AFP.
"She has a large hole near the stern and we're not sure we'll be able to keep her afloat," he added.
The passengers are mainly pensioners from Germany and Austria, he added.
They have been given temporary shelter in a cafe in Zutphen and would later be taken to a hotel, Spijkerman said.
He could not immediately say where the ship came from or where it was headed.
River cruises on the Ijssel; an important branch of the Rhine is a popular tourist activity, especially in summer, taking sight-seers through the scenic flat Dutch countryside.