Colombian naval units rescued 16 foreign tourists after their boat foundered off the Andean nation's Caribbean coast.

The foreigners were traveling on Monday on a Caribbean cruise on board a catamaran and were rescued 45 nautical miles from Cartagena, the city toward which they were heading after setting sail from Panama, the navy said.

The catamaran foundered "apparently due to damage to its hull," forcing the crew and passengers to abandon the vessel, which later sank.

The occupants of the Australian-flagged catamaran Fritz the Cat were taken to Cartagena where "they received medical attention and later were handed over to the immigration service for the corresponding procedures," the navy said.

The rescued people included five Australians, three Germans, three U.S. citizens, two Norwegians, a Panamanian, a Pole and a Dutch citizen.

The foreigners are currently in Cartagena waiting to travel back to their home countries after the ill-fated cruise. EFE