Monday, May 14, 2007

Cruise Ship "Empress of the North" aground near Juneau, AK

Cruise ship from NW runs aground in Alaska
08:09 AM PDT on Monday, May 14, 2007
Associated Press
KODIAK, Alaska - About 280 passengers aboard a cruise ship operated out of Seattle were evacuated Monday morning after the ship hit a rock in Icy Straight and started listing about 15 miles southwest of Juneau.

KGW photo
The Empress of the North

The company that operates the "Empress of the North" cruise ship says all the passengers have been safely taken off the ship and the ship on its way back to Juneau under its own power. Majestic America spokesman Dan Miller in Seattle says the damage will be assessed to determine whether the ship can resume its summer schedule of cruises out of Juneau.
After the Empress of the North hit Hanus Rock at the southern end of the strait, it started taking on water and was listing 6 degrees, said Petty Officer Christopher D. McLaughlin at the Coast guard base in Kodiak.
The 360 foot vessel is operated by Majestic America Line out of Seattle. It reportedly had left Seattle on April 30 for a 12-day cruise through Alaska.
Passengers were transferred to a numerous private vessels, including other cruise ships, and by daybreak those remaining aboard were being taken aboard the Spirit of Columbia, a smaller vessel operated by Cruise West of Seattle, McLaughlin said.
"Many Good Samaritan boats on scene are taking off passengers," he said. "The fishing vessels Evening Star and Willow were able to moor up to cruise ship and 33 passengers transferred from the Empress of the North to the Evening Star and 12 passengers to the Willow."
More: Same ship ran aground in Columbia River
A Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter were dispatched after an emergency radio message was received at 12:35 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time from the ship, operated by Majestic America Line of Seattle, McLaughlin said.
There were no reports of injury, nor was there any immediate word on damage, and McLaughlin said the reason for the grounding was unclear.
According to the company's Web site, the Empress of the North is a "newly built" sternwheeler with a 24-hour bar and grill, a crew of 84, 112 staterooms for 223 passengers and "a robust modern diesel propulsion system."
The American-built ship is billed by the company as the only overnight paddlewheel vessel in use on Alaskan cruises and also is used on cruises on the Columbia River between Washington state and Oregon.
McLaughlin said the Coast Guard's initial report listed the ship as 299 feet long, while the Web site gave the length as 360 feet.

---This story was taken from a washington/oregon television station-- article by the A.P. -- The Empress of the North runs coastal cruises in the Pacific Northwest and Columbia River.---

I will post more on this story as it unfolds. Maybe I will be able to get a comment from local mariners or crew of the Empress.


Anonymous said...

Working on the Columbia River, I have run across the Empress before and I have noticed some issues with the navigators on that boat. In the ocean I expect it to take the mate on watch a while to answer the radio... they are usually busy doing something else- in the chart room doing corrections or some such thing...

I had to call about 5 times in a mile long stretch of river to make passing arrangments with the Empress of the North. I remember this specifically because of all the gillnetters that were out that night, there was one broken down in the middle of the channel and I was calling the Empress to warn her crew of the impending danger.

I live in and work in the Pacific Northwest and I have seen a lot of bad news about this vessel before- since it was built in 2002 I have heard of two or three other groundings and just recently in January or February there was an incident of food poisoning in the news. Unfortunately for them, I think that the Coast Guard is going to come down on them really hard this time.

That boat seems to be jinxed.

Anonymous said...

I heard it was the third mate on watch that hit ground. I was looking through some gossip columns and saw that the Captain had the new 'fresh out of the academy' kid from Cal on the helm and on the night watch of all things. Well you can expect that the new guys will make mistakes- and it is wise to keep your eye on them even when you trust their training.

I have been through a number of cadets in my time and have found that about half are actually good when they come out of school- the other half either wont make it or they need to learn from their mistakes- hopefully this one can learn from what has happened to him and take that expereince on with him to his new job.

Anonymous said...

It is always the 3rd mate isnt it?

But ultimately this will be the Captain's burden to bear. He wasn't watching out for the new guy and he will have to accept that and face the consequences.

A good captain always sleeps with one eye open.

Kyle B. (1600T mate)

Anonymous said...

Почему регистрация не работает ?

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