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May-16-2007 11:52printcomments

Feds Seek Answers Into Empress of the North Grounding

Forty workers and 208 passengers were shuttled back to Juneau with the help of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and other vessels, including a state ferry.

cruise_ship_photo
Passengers from the Cruise Ship Empress of the North being offloaded onto the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty and civilian vessels.
Photo: Petty Officer Chris Caskey

(JUNEAU, Alaska) - A team from the National Transportation Safety Board has begun an investigation into why the Ambassadors International Inc. cruise ship Empress of the North ran into trouble Monday morning off the coast of Alaska, forcing passengers and crew to evacuate, has had troubles before.

According to the NTSB the ship was equipped with state of the art navigation technology, including electronic display charts used in navigating the vessel.

The 360-foot ship hit a rock and began taking on water about 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Juneau in 3-foot seas.

Forty workers and 208 passengers were shuttled back to Juneau with the help of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and other vessels, including a state ferry.

The ship ran aground near Juneau, safely evacuating its passengers Monday morning. They were shuttled back to Juneau with the help of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and other vessels, including a state ferry.

The sternwheeler-style cruise ship operates in the spring and fall on the Columbia and Snake rivers out of Portland.

For 20 weeks in the summer it cruises out of Juneau.

Empress of the North also ran aground in March 2006 on the Columbia River, 20 miles east of Portland, Oregon, with 260 passengers and crew aboard.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the ship in March after 26 passengers and seven crew members complained of vomiting and diarrhea.

The ship had failed a CDC health inspection in February when it was cited for poor hygienic practices such as hand-washing violations as well as improper storage of food items.




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gCaptain May 23, 2007 9:00 pm (Pacific time)

For some insider info check out this blog: http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/

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