Trade Winds Casino Cruise Ship Escapade Grounded Tybee Island Georgia (see video below) On Wednesday July 16, 2014 around 0:00 hours, the Trade Winds Casino cruise ship named Escapade was sailing on her maiden voyage when the cruise ship grounded on a sand bar about two miles from Tybee Island in Georgia with approximately 96 passengers and 27 crew members aboard.
The cruise ship embarked from Savannah, Georgia around 1900 hours and was to return just after midnight. Since the casino cruise ship was grounded less than two miles from shore, the passengers were not permitted to gamble, due to federal regulations requiring gambling beyond the three mile limit from shore. Passengers spent 16 hours aboard the hot, muggy cruise ship before being evacuated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Four passengers who were unable to make their way from onto the rescue boat had be evacuated by helicopter.
Crews first attempted to move the cruise ship was around 1200 hours on Wednesday, once water levels reached high tide. During the tow, the towlines broke. USCG said that a formal request to the USCG had to made by the cruise ship line and was not done in time before high tide. The requests then in order, the USCG was set to attempt to help float the Escapade at the mid-day Thursday high tide. Around 1300 hours on Thursday, hoping to float free of the sandbar, the Escapade crew was safely able to free their cruise ship without USCG assistance.
Update: July 20, 2014: Tradewinds Casino says that the captain of the Escapade during the grounding was suspended at 6pm on July 19 with pay until an internal investigation is completed.
Video: Coast Guard safely transfers 118 people off grounded casino ship