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Spirit of Glacier Bay Grounding July 7 2008

Cruise West Spirit of Glacier Bay Grounded by Low Water Levels In Alaska

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Spirit of Glacier Bay Grounding July 7 2008

Cruise West Spirit of Glacier Bay Grounded by Low Water Levels In Alaska

Low water levels resulted in the grounding of the Spirit Of Glacier Bay cruise ship, owned by Cruise West

Spirit of Glacier Bay Grounded
As seen in the photo, the ship was high and dry, straddling a sand bar with very little water left at the time the picture was taken.

It was around 0700 hours on Monday, July 7th when the 207-foot cruise ship, loaded with a reported 51 passengers aboard, ended up with her bow and stern in the air.

United States Coast Guard (USCG) spokesman Lt. Eric Eggen says it's unclear whether the grounding was caused by human error, mechanical or electronic malfunction.

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 cruise in July have now been canceled due to necessary repairs required to make the vessel sea-worthy again.

Other Recent Cruise Ship Groundings>

  • MV Princess Of Star - June 21, 2008
  • Mona Lisa - May 4, 2008
  • Sky Wonder - March 26, 2008
  • Georgis - March 13, 2008
  • MV Lycianda - December 5, 2007

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