Thursday, June 05, 2008
A small cruise ship with 63 people on board will be towed to Juneau after it scraped the bottom of the ocean floor in a remote corner of southeast Alaska. The Spirit of Alaska, owned by Cruise West, may have damaged its rudder in Tracy Arm, a glacier studded fjord about 45 miles south of Juneau. Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read says they ordered the 143-foot vessel be towed after a diver inspected its exterior.
The Spirit of AlaskaCruise West has contracted with the tug Ethan B for a tow. The vessels will be accompanied by the Coast Guard cutter Liberty. The ship's officers reported the accident at about 8 a.m. The Liberty and a 47-foot lifeboat from Juneau and a Jayhawk helicopter from Sitka responded. The ship did not take on water. Read says all 41 passengers and 22 crew members are reported safe and will remain on board. Read did not know the extent of the damage or what plans are being made for passengers once the ship reaches Juneau.