A Cruise West vessel hit bottom in Alaska’s Glacier Bay yesterday, the second such incident this season for the exploration cruise line.
There were no injuries reported when the Spirit of Glacier Bay hit bottom in Tarr Inlet, at the mouth of Glacier Bay National Park at about 7 a.m. on July 7. the third day of a four-day Glacier Bay Highlights cruise out of Juneau.
The Coast Guard said it responded to the ship, which had run aground on a sandbar, with two helicopters and three response boats. There were no injuries to any of the 24 passengers or 27 crew members onboard the vessel, and no reported pollution.
The Coast Guard waited until high tide to let the ship refloat on its own, while passengers and non-essential crew were transferred to a Glacier Bay Park Service vessel and taken to Gustavus, Alaska. Cruise West was working yesterday to return the passengers to Juneau.
The vessel refloated by itself at 4:23 p.m., the Coast Guard said, and was transferred to a nearby dock to assess any possible damage and the cause of the grounding.
Cruise West said it expected to cancel the next four cruises on the Spirit of Glacier Bay, including one that was scheduled to leave Tuesday.
The cruise line added that there was no compromise to the ship's hull, but that it sustained some damage and would need to be repaired.
In a statement, the Cruise West said that along with the Coast Guard, it had "brought in an objective third party to gain any insights on how we will continue to provide the safest product for our guests. We have already completed the majority of these reviews and will use insight from these meetings and audits to review and incorporate any necessary, recommended improvements to our management systems and processes."
In early June, the Spirit of Alaska hit a rock in Tracy Arm fjord on the second day of a week-long cruise. That cruise was canceled, and the 41 passengers onboard were transferred to another Cruise West ship leaving from Juneau the next day.
The Spirit of Glacier Bay began operating in Alaska this season, after transferring from the U.S. East Coast and changing its name from the Spirit of Nantucket.
In November 2007, the Spirit of Nantucket had encounter with the bottom .When it began taking on water near Virginia Beach, the ship's captain intentionally ran the vessel aground to prevent it from possibly sinking. There were no injuries reported in that incident.