Spirit of Glacier Cruise Ship Bay Grounding Glacier Bay Alaska – It was around 0700 hours on Monday, July 7, 2008, when the Spirit of Glacier Bay cruise ship ended up with her bow and stern in the air at Glacier Bay, Alaska.
The the 207-foot cruise ship, loaded with a reported 51 passengers aboard required a United States Coast Guard (USCG) rescue. The same thing happened again in 2013 (see video below)
USCG spokesman Lt. Eric Eggen says it’s unclear whether the grounding was caused by human error, mechanical or electronic malfunction. The ship was high and dry, straddling a sand bar with very little water left around the ship.
The USCG launched two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Sitka, a 47-foot motor life boat and a 25-foot response boat from Station Juneau.
As well, the USCG launched the 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Liberty, from Auke Bay.
The Glacier Bay National Park Service vessel Fairweather II Express responding to the call to offer assistance with passenger evacuation.
A leak containment boom was placed around the vessel for cautionary purposes, in the event the hull was breached and fuel began to leak from the vessel. This is a common problem with grounded vessels, which also are normally at risk of sinking.
Passengers were on their third day of cruise that was suppose to last for four days, when the ship suddenly stopped, without warning.
An investigation into the incident has begun.
It has not been a good past year for the vessel with names that begin “Spirit Of” nor for vessels cruising in Alaska.
UPDATE: July 11, 2008
Really, you only have to look at the photograph above to see, it is highly unlikely this cruise ship was not damaged during this grounding. It would seem like a no-brainer to me, that with the bow in the air, the stern in the air, and the belly of the ship right in the middle of that sandbar, something just HAD to be damaged.
This discovery came to light to the crew of the Spirit Of Glacier Bay as they headed to dry-dock in Ketchikan, Alaska. The ship never made it there, however, after she began taking on water.
The ship, void of passengers who had been evacuated, was diverted to Wrangell, Alaska so that divers and inspectors could look the ship over.
Fear that ship might begin to leak fuel, contaminating the environment finally over-shadowed the urge to get the little cruise ship back into service and making money again as soon as possible.
Four cruises in July have now been canceled due to necessary repairs required to make the vessel sea-worthy again.
Video:Cruise ship grounds in Glacier Bay (2013)