View Full Version : Cruise ship aground in Alaska

07-08-2008, 01:11 AM
The story isn't significant but the pics are brilliant.
Bit of a tide in Alaska?


Cruise ship runs aground (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/multimedia/image.cfm?c_id=2&gal_objectid=10520573&gallery_id=1445)

Click for pics as I can't grab them.

The Bigfella
07-08-2008, 01:17 AM
Just parked it there to give the bottom a scrub?

07-08-2008, 01:17 AM
Sure picked a nice, soft spot to land!

07-08-2008, 02:39 AM
tides are some of the most extreme in the world around here.up to 30 feet of water moving at times.it can get really wicked with high winds and the storm surge.

07-08-2008, 03:08 AM
That's really something. Too bad for the captain. :( I bet he is in early retirement and won't have a command of a ship again... If he was in military, he'd be relieved of his command as incompitent...

All the tankers and cargo ships coming into Cook Inlet and Kachemak bay are required to have a local pilot brought on board. The captain will still have the command of the ship, but it is under the directions of the pilot.

Hey BrianW, this is in your terratory... Did you see it or were you on The Slope when it happened?

Jay Greer
07-08-2008, 06:49 PM
Boy! I'll bet some body really got yelled at for this one! What ever happened to local knowledge?

07-08-2008, 07:09 PM
My daughter worked aboard a CruiseWest ship (not that one) and she still knows lots of crew and officers. I'll see what I can find out.

07-09-2008, 06:42 AM
I don't mean to sound dismissive of this incident (that fortunately turned out to be nothing more than an added adventure for most involved), but I think that it is probably more common than you think. The only part that makes this grounding noteworthy is that the tide went out before the captain could back her off the sand bar. Though not familiar with the Alaskan region where this ship went aground, I do understand the perils of huge tidal ranges (the tide at the shipyard where I currently work is normally around 6.75 metres or twenty-two feet) and the shifting sandbars that such tides create. I also understand the pressure that tourboat ships' captains are under to get their paying passengers ever closer to the features that the passagers are paying to see. Put the two together and groundings are inevitable. I'll bet that there is rarely a week that goes by that doesn't see some cruise or tour boat in that area scraping bottom, but most will be able to slide over the bar or back off it without incident. This one got caught and, worse yet, photographed. I'd be more concerned for the next boat to be caught in the right place at the wrong time when a large berg is calved and the ensuing mini-tsunami overwhelms the vessel that, lulled into complacency by previously uneventful sorties, has ventured too close. Most won't fare as well as those on-board for the soft grounding that this story describes.

07-09-2008, 07:54 AM
FLEET OPERATOR: Ships are being inspected and crew members questioned.


Published: July 8th, 2008
Last Modified: July 8th, 2008 at 12:54 AM

The number of mishaps aboard Cruise West vessels so far this season has landed the company on a special program to review the ships' safety and maintenance procedures, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Seattle-based Cruise West ships have so far suffered three mechanical failures and two groundings, including the most recent that took place Monday morning when the Spirit of Glacier Bay ran aground in Tarr Inlet near its namesake bay.

The Coast Guard began talking to the company about the trend after its ships suffered the second mechanical failure of the season, said Capt. Scott Robert, Coast Guard sector Juneau commander.

Mechanical problems are common on ships, and the Coast Guard in Alaska responds to hundreds of such calls each season, he said. But the number specifically on Cruise West ships this season prompted the extra attention, he said.

"After the third mechanical failure and the (first) grounding is when we started to take a very proactive approach on looking at the safety systems on board those vessels," Robert said. "These safety stand-downs are above and beyond what we, the Coast Guard, typically do with this industry."

The Coast Guard frequently holds surprise spot inspections and evaluates vessels at the beginning of the season, Robert said. The "safety stand-downs" are an added layer of oversight to promote safety and prevent serious accidents, he said.

As part of the plan, all of Cruise West's ships are being inspected by Coast Guard personnel, who are examining safety plans, equipment and maintenance policies, Robert said. The boardings also entail talking to crew members to improve their awareness of safety conditions, he said.

Cruise West officials are working in partnership, with its vice president "actively participating" in the stand-downs, Robert said. The boardings are scheduled in advance and take about two or three hours on average, he said. They are being held wherever the ships are -- in Alaska and elsewhere.

"This is a Coast Guard-wide issue," Robert said. "This is a combined, overarching look (at) Cruise West across the entire Coast Guard."

The agency plans to continue with the stand-downs until it is convinced Cruise West vessels are being operated and maintained safely, Robert said.

Jerrol Golden, spokeswoman for Cruise West, which operates nine small cruise ships, would not comment on the Coast Guard program, though she said safety is a top priority for the company. She stressed none of the incidents this season involved any injuries.

"Each incident is different, and there's definitely lessons learned immediately," she said. "There's no doubt the management system is under review by us, for sure."

She would not elaborate.

07-10-2008, 12:23 AM
Good thing she didn't ground out in the British Isles. She'd have been stripped (and the passengers likewise) before the tide came up. In the grand old English tradition.

Tom Robb
07-10-2008, 07:59 PM
SWMBO & I are to go on a Cruise West boat - Spirit of Columbia - July 21 - 28 in Prince William Sound and would like very much to hear about how she's being handled. This sounds like considerably more adventure than we bargained for. I suppose I could ask the operator but I doubt I'd get anything except the company BS line about how safety conscious they are.
Thanks in advance,

Fritz Koschmann
07-11-2008, 10:00 PM
I live and work in and around Glacier Bay. We make a distinction here between cruise ships and tour boats. The boat that ran aground is a tour boat, also known as a rule beater. The boats are very specifically designed to be under 100 net tons, that is a very complicated measurement of volume not actual weight. 100 ton captains are a dime a dozen, it does not really take much experience to get a 100 ton license. Also fewer licensed crew are required to run the boats. Another tour boat that ran aground last summer here had a sole operator on watch in the middle of the night and it was the first time he had ever been on watch alone on waters he had never seen before. There are certainly very capable captains on tour boats around but the USGC has to crack down and or change the regs concerning these vessels.

As an aside if you want to see what I do for a living: