Cruise ship runs aground off Alaska | VailDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Cruise ship runs aground off Alaska

This undated handout photo provided by Majestic America Line shows the Empress of the North. The Empress of the North ran aground off the Alaska coast and was taking on water early Monday, May 14, 2007, as more than 200 passengers were being transferred to nearby ships, Coast Guard officials said. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The Empress of the North, carrying 281 passengers and crew, was listing 6 degrees after hitting a rock at the southern end of Icy Strait, about 15 miles southwest of Juneau, said Petty Officer Christopher D. McLaughlin at the Coast Guard base in Kodiak. (AP Photo/Majestic America Line, HO) **NO SALES**
AP | MAJESTIC AMERICA LINE

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A paddlewheel cruise ship ran ground off the Alaska coast early Monday, forcing an evacuation of more than 200 passengers before it was able to move again with a Coast Guard escort.

Chief Petty Officer Barry Lane said all passengers had been evacuated from the Empress of the North, and the vessel, with 29 crew members aboard, was heading toward Juneau around 7 a.m. There were no reports of injuries.

“The story is shaping up for the good,” Lane said.

The Empress of the North had 281 passengers and crew members aboard when it sent out an emergency radio message at 12:35 a.m., the Coast Guard said.

When Coast Guard helicopters reached the area, the vessel was listing at the southern end of Icy Strait, about 15 miles southwest of Juneau, and it began taking on water, said Petty Officer Christopher D. McLaughlin at the Coast Guard base in Kodiak.

As the ship’s pumps worked to remove the water, the passengers were transferred to fishing vessels and other cruise ships in the area. Those passengers and about 130 others who were taken aboard the Coast Guard cutter Liberty were to be transferred to the Alaska state ferry Columbia and taken to Juneau.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the cruise ship ran around, McLaughlin said. It was drizzling in Juneau but the seas were relatively calm.

The Empress of the North is operated by Majestic America Line of Seattle. The ship has 112 staterooms, a three-story paddlewheel and galleries featuring Native American masks and Russian artwork, including Faberge eggs, according to its Web site.

Dan Miller, a spokesman for Majestic America, said the grounding occurred on the second day of a seven-day cruise.

The American-built ship is billed by the company as the only overnight paddlewheel vessel in use on Alaska cruises. It also is used on cruises on the Columbia River between Washington state and Oregon.

On the Net:

http://www.majesticamericaline.com


Support Local Journalism


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User