Empress of the North American West Steamboat Company Grounded Columbia River – The Empress Of The North left Astoria, Oregon, on March 19, 2006 for a week long cruise of the Columbia River. The cruise ship ran aground while on the Columbia river, fully loaded. The vessel sustained some damage, but it was not clear how much.
No injuries were reported, the vessel wasn’t sinking and was not leaking fuel.
The 360 foot Empress Of The North is a vessel modeled on the sternwheelers of the 1800s.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the sister ship Queen Of The West, a 230 foot vesseel, pulled alongside to take aboard passengers and crew members from the Empress Of The North.
A tug wedged a barge between the ships to ensure stability and passenger safety during the transfer.
American West Steamboat Company, which is based in Seattle, was taking the passengers to a hotel for the night while it determine whether they could complete their cruise.
The company planned to pull the Empress of the North off the sandbar with a tug and see whether it could continue under its own power to the Port of Washougal for an inspection.
The Empress Of The North also ran aground back in 2003 in the Columbia River. That grounding was blamed on human error.