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History  | Military  | Search & Rescue  | Southeast

35th Anniversary of the Prinsendam, Part 1: The Rescue

November 4, 2015 by Rich McClear, Sitka

October 4th marked the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Prinsendam. The cruise ship was abandoned 200 miles off the coast of Alaska due to fire. Over 500 passengers and crew were rescued. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Library

It’s been called the greatest high seas rescue in the history of the Coast Guard. 35 years ago on October 4th, the luxury cruise liner Prinsendam caught fire in Gulf of Alaska, between Yakutat and Sitka. Despite an incoming typhoon, 30-foot seas, and 100-meter visibility, every one of the more than 500 passengers and crew escaped before the ship burned and sank.

Earlier this month members of the US Coast Guard and Air Force, and their Canadian counterparts, gathered in Seattle for a reunion. In Part 1 of a three-part series on the Prinsendam anniversary, KCAW’s Rich McClear headed south to join them – and reflect on his own role in the emergency. 35 years ago, McClear, was about to leave KTOO in Juneau to start the public radio station in Sitka.

Oct. 4, 1980, was Juneau’s 100 th birthday and the city was in the mood to party. The Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell was in town, up from Seattle, to help with the celebration. The bars were full of Coasties.

Sitkan Doris Bailey was in Juneau and remembers how her husband, Roy, first learned that the party was over. “Some boat started tooting blasts on the horn and Roy jumped out of bed and said “Oh My Gosh, every coastguard person is being called back to the ship, all leave is canceled,” Bailey said.

That was around 1 a.m. in the morning. The Boutwell’s captain, Lee Krumm, was scheduled to be the Centennial Parade Grand Marshal. He was enjoying himself in a Mendenhall Valley tavern when he was called to the phone.

Lee Krumm:  I went up and got the microphone from the band and said, ‘Anyone from the Boutwell in here get yourselves downstairs. We’re heading back on the ship. We have a cruise ship on fire.’ We had people actually sitting in the trunks of cars with their legs hanging out the back getting them back to the ship.

The Juneau police and volunteer fire department went to every bar rousting out crewmembers.  Seaman Dan Long was on the ship helping load the crew back on board. Long remembered the process. “One guy take the arms, one guy take the legs, haul them on board and dump them on the flight deck – those guys who couldn’t walk under their own power,” he said.

But in two hours the Boutwell was ready to sail with only nine crew members missing. In Sitka, the Woodrush was also underway and two helicopters from Air Station Sitka were heading to the ship.

Aboard the Prinsendam, the fire spread. She was dead in the water. The captain gave the order to abandon ship. John Graham was the ship’s lecturer and recalled, “In the beginning the seas were relatively calm. We were put into the lifeboats in the middle of the night. It was kind of an adventure. People did sing along to old campfire songs.”

At daybreak, the helicopters started hoisting passengers. They ferried the survivors to the Exxon Williamsburgh, which heard the SOS. Fortunately, the tanker had a helipad and was fully loaded with crude oil, making it stable in the rising seas.

Every few trips the helicopters had to refuel, so they carried their passengers to Yakutat.

Pete Torres was on the crew of one of the Kodiak choppers and said, “The people had been sitting cramped in a lifeboat for up to 10 to 12 hours. By the time they got into the helicopter, they couldn’t get themselves out of the basket. We would actually have to pick them up and move them back to the back of the helicopter.” He added, “There weren’t enough troop seats in the helicopter, so after a while a lot of the passengers would actually have to sit on the deck in a pile.  I think on our last run we had up to 16 survivors on our helicopter.”

The Prinsendam on a postcard, pictured at Skagway before the fire. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Library)

The Prinsendam passengers who flew to safety may have been the lucky ones. As the day wore on, the weather deteriorated.

Passenger John Graham said this is when survivors in the lifeboats began to feel desperate. “Finally the typhoon hit us full force. Winds gusting up to 60 knots. 30 foot seas. And we were all hypothermic. We were all seasick. At about 5 o’clock, the storm was so bad that the helicopters couldn’t fly anymore.  So our only hope was that there something out there on the sea that could rescue us,” he said.

Graham’s boat was eventually found by the Boutwell. She had arrived from Juneau and began taking survivors aboard. It wasn’t easy.

First they sent a launch to transfer survivors from the lifeboats to the ship. That didn’t work so well, Dan Long recalls. “We went out and got to the first lifeboat. Well, the crew from the Prinsendam, they were just panicked. We wanted to take the elderly on board first. They were climbing over the elderly and climbing onto our boat because they were so afraid. It was this total mayhem. Our boat quickly filled up and we couldn’t get the elderly off the lifeboat.”

Instead, the launch towed the lifeboat to the Boutwell, but most were not able to climb the 40-foot Jacob’s ladder to the ship. Their hands were cold, and they could not grip the rungs. Long said, “We just sent a man down with a horse collar and manually hauled them up one by one,” using a hand winch.

And that’s the way the Boutwell brought all the survivors from the remaining lifeboats aboard – or so they thought.

Lt. Colonel Dave Briski, the pilot of an Air Force C-130, was unwilling to call it a day.

Lt. Dave Briski:  I called the Coast Guard and I said, “What’s the status of the mission?’ They said, ‘Well, everybody’s been picked up. We’re closing down the mission down.’ And I said, ‘Are you sure you’ve got everybody picked up?’ And they said, ‘Yes everybody’s picked up.” And I said, ‘OK, the last I heard, the Air Force helicopter, the boat they were picking up people from, had two of our PJs, or pararescue men, and about 18 to 20 people from the ship.  Can you confirm those people were picked up?” They said ‘Yeah, they’re all picked up.’ I said, ‘Well give me the names of the two PJs and then I know you’ve got ‘em. They insisted they were going to close the mission.  I called the Rescue Coordination Center back at Elmendorf and I said ‘Hey, I don’t think they’ve got everybody picked up.’

Briski was right. The Boutwell and Woodrush sailed search patterns in the area where the lifeboat was last reported. Just before 2 a.m., the Boutwell found the missing lifeboat and hauled its passengers aboard. The mission was closed, but for the residents of Yakutat, Sitka and Valdez, the rescue of the Prinsendam was just beginning.

The end of the mission at sea was the beginning of the rescue on land, as the more than 500 passengers and crew of the Prinsendam were brought ashore with only the clothes on their backs. In Part 1 of this series tomorrow, KCAW’s Rich McClear talks with Sitkans who lent a hand – and much more – to the survivors of the Prinsendam.

This story is Part 2 in a series to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Prinsendam Rescue. Here is Part 1 and Part 3 .  Click here for more historic photographs of the Prinsendam sinking, courtesy of the Alaska State Library.

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KCAW is our partner station in Sitka. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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Passengers and crew evacuated from small cruise ship in Alaska’s Glacier Bay after fire breaks out

alaska cruise ship sinking

The cruise ship Sapphire Princess and the vessel Wilderness Discoverer in Glacier Bay National Park on Monday after a fire was reported on the smaller vessel. (U.S Coast Guard photo via Facebook)

Nearly 70 people were evacuated from a small cruise ship in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park after a fire Monday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

There were no reports of injuries.

Crew members on the 178-foot vessel Wilderness Discoverer reported a fire at 7:30 a.m., the Coast Guard said in a statement. The boat is owned by UnCruise Adventures, a small-ship cruise company based in Juneau with itineraries in Southeast Alaska.

The 51 passengers and 16 crew members aboard the Wilderness Discoverer were “safely disembarked aboard the cruise ship Sapphire Princess,” a much larger cruise ship that was in the area, the Coast Guard said. Tender boats were used to ferry passengers from the smaller ship to the Sapphire Princess, a far larger ship that can carry 3,670 passengers and crew.

The two boats were in the west arm of Glacier Bay, transiting the main channel, UnCruise owner Dan Blanchard said by phone Monday. The busy area sees frequent boat traffic.

The fire was likely caused by a generator and was extinguished by an onboard fire suppression system, Blanchard said. Evacuated passengers will get off the larger cruise ship and go back to Juneau on Monday night, he said. A skeleton crew of Wilderness Discoverer staff remained onboard to be with the boat

The damaged vessel will be towed to Ketchikan, the Coast Guard said.

Blanchard said his crew handled the fire smoothly.

“I’m super happy about the response of the crew; you respond the way you are trained,” he said. “They just did the right things.”

A separate and unrelated helicopter medevac of a passenger on the Sapphire Princess cruise ship was underway by the Coast Guard Monday afternoon, according to Petty Officer Third Class Ian Gray.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.

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A rescue helicopter takes off the remaining crew and passengers of the Prinsendam who weren’t able to get into a lifeboat. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

A rescue helicopter takes off the remaining crew and passengers of the Prinsendam who weren’t able to get into a lifeboat. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Prinsendam’s unsung heroes

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Prinsendam’s Sinking in 1980 Led to One of History’s Greatest Maritime Rescues

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Prisendam

By Dave Kiffer of  sitnews.us

At the beginning of most cruise ship sailings, the passengers gather for a safety lecture. It’s not really a drill because they don’t get into lifeboats or rafts that are then cast off. What takes place is a muster drill in which passengers are told where to gather in an emergency and how to don a life vest.

After all, cruise ship sailings are statistically exceptionally safe. Millions of people travel on them every year and while occasionally ships have problems, a full evacuation is almost never needed.

Once a decade or so a cruise ship faces a more serious problem, rarely, if ever, are passengers faced with a situation in which they have to completely abandon ship and remember those details they learned in their “muster” drills.

In fact, the nearly 1 million cruise passengers who visit Southeast Alaska yearly probably don’t even give more than a passing thought to the chance their cruise may be interrupted by the multiple blasts of the ship’s horn and the order from the captain to abandon ship.

But that is exactly what happened near Yakutat 35 years ago this month to one of ships in the Holland America fleet. A fire forced hundreds of passenger and crew of MS Prinsendam to abandon the ship before it sank in the Gulf of Alaska. No one died in the incident and some experts have labeled the evacuation one of the greatest in the history of maritime rescue.

On October 2, 1980, the Prinsendam left Ketchikan and headed to Glacier Bay before going into the Gulf of Alaska. Although the Southeast Alaska visitor season was over, the ship was on a special sailing from Vancouver, B.C. to Japan and other parts of Asia. It had made a single stop in Ketchikan, after leaving Vancouver.

By 2015 standards, the Prinsendam, at 427 feet, was tiny. Even in 1980, the ship was the smallest of the five in Holland America’s fleet, although it was the newest and, in some ways, the jewel of the fleet. It had been built in 1973 at a cost of $50 million.

Passengers on the Prinsendam had paid between $3,125 and $5,075 for the 29-day voyage from Vancouver through the Inside Passage and them across the North Pacific to Japan, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Some of the passengers were going to stay on an additional two weeks as the ship visited Malaysia, Sumatra, Bali and Java.

Its total of 524 passengers and crew also seems miniscule compared to modern ships in the Alaska fleet that have six or seven times that number. But the difficulties encountered in safely evacuating even that relatively small number of passengers and crew point out just what trouble could await if a similar disaster happened to one of the leviathans in the modern cruise industry.

Still, the evacuation was also a blue print for just how to successfully deal with such a disaster at sea. It became, what Josh Reppinger called in 1981 article in Popular Mechanics, the “most successful large scale peacetime sea rescue in history.”

By the way, there is a Prinsendam currently in the Holland America fleet. In 2002, Holland America purchased the Seaborne Sun, which had been built in 1988, and renamed it the Prinsendam. The nearly 700 foot long ship carries approximately 1,200 passengers and crew. The ship offers “boutique” cruises to more out of the way tourism destinations such as the Black Sea, South America and Antarctica.

The Captain of the ill-fated Prinsendam, Cornelius Wabeke, had been a ship master for Holland America for 30 years and was one of the most experienced captains in the fleet. He would later be faulted for his response to the fire but not held solely responsible for the loss of his ship.

“Light rain greeted the Prinsendam as she eased into Ketchikan’s harbor early on Thursday morning, October 2 but the sky brightened to afford a day of sightseeing and shopping along the rustic boardwalk of Creek Street,” H. Paul Jeffers wrote in his 2006 book “Burning Cold: The Cruise Ship Prinsendam and the Greatest Sea Rescue of All Time.”

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Alaska For Real

Raised in ruins, alaska cruise ship disaster: the prinsendam.

On October 4, 1980,  the aurora borealis danced above the stricken cruise ship as the elderly passengers crawled out of bed and made their way to the upper deck after the captain announced that there was a fire in the engine room. Almost everyone aboard, in the inhospitable Gulf of Alaska, one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world, was of retirement age or older.      Later, Muriel Marvinney explained how she and her friend Agnes Lilard came to be aboard: “Our families are wonderful. We’re both fortunate that our children and grandchildren live nearby and visit us. But, loving as our children are, and with all the dear friends both Ag and I have, there is a kind of invisible barrier for us as widows. You’re always fifth wheel at social gatherings….When we broached the idea of our taking ‘a slow boat to China,’ our children were all for it. The more we thought about it, the more exciting the idea seemed. All summer we pored over brochures like a couple of kids.”      The boat they chose, as so many other retirement folks chose, was the intimate-sized cruise ship the  Prinsendam,   otherwise known (in a nod to the popular TV show  The Love Boat ) by the affectionate nickname  The Old Codger Boat.

 The small  Prinsendam  (only 427 feet long, about the size of the flagship of Alaska’s ferry system), did not have a very auspicious start. She was built in 1973 as the smallest of Holland America’s fleet of cruise ships, and just before her inaugural cruise a fire started in the barroom and spread to the electrical wiring, burning out of control for an hour and a half.      On the night of her final cruise, seven years later, the fire started in the engine room. The reaction by the crew was belated and inadequate. The captain, unaware of a large time lapse between when the fire began and when his instructions were followed, assumed that there was no great danger and didn’t immediately send out an SOS, assuming that their onbaord fire suppression methods would handle the blaze. However, he did send out a preliminary message that they had a situation that might escalate to an emergency.      The Coast Guard and all shipping in the area immediately went on alert. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard was hundreds of miles away from where the  Prinsendam  was located out in the perpetually storm-harassed Gulf. If the elderly passengers were forced to take to the lifeboats it would be hours before the rescue heliccopters and cutters could reach them.

At first the passengers thought it was only a minor fire that would be taken care of soon, and they good-naturedly joked and chatted on the dark deck in their eclectic night attire, some of them in wheelchairs. The crew passed out drinks and snacks and opened the gift shop to offer sweaters to any who needed them. The ship’s entertainers, including a man who later come to fame as the musician known as Yanni, played music for them and they happily sang along.      In the early hours of the morning, still assuming that everything was going to turn out all right, the captain allowed the passengers to come back inside to get warm. He also agreed to allow the crew to open up the dining room. Unfortunately, this caused the fire to re-ignite and abruptly blaze out of control.      Hours before daylight, the captain sent off an SOS and announced that they were abandoning ship.

Until then the dead, unlit cruise ship, its electricity lost to the fire, had been wallowing gently in five foot swells with a gentle ten mph wind blowing. As the night progressed into dawn, the winds and seas began to rise.      In addition, the smoky  Prinsendam  was starting to list as the fire blew out porthole windows and the growing swells sloshed water into the ship through these many openings.      There were difficulties with getting the lifeboats loaded and lowered. Without electricity, they had to be lowered manually. One of the largest lifeboats got fouled in its lines and was abandoned, hanging at an angle. Another lifeboat was nearly lowered on top of another. None of them had power and the elderly passengers, crammed in so tightly they couldn’t move, couldn’t push their boats away from the steel sides of the ship as the waves ground and slammed them into it.      But finally they were free, bobbing about in their small boats in the vast Gulf of Alaska under a murky dawn sky with, in front of them, the cinematic vision of their cruise ship pouring smoke out her portholes and listing into the growing seas.      The captain, twenty-five crewmembers, and fifteen passengers remained on the stricken cruise ship. But by then Coast Guard and Air Force planes and helicopters were beginning to arrive. They managed to drop firefighting equipment and experts onto the liner, but after several different attempts to contain, let alone put out, the fire failed they had to admit defeat.

  By the most astonishing good fortune, the oil tanker  Williamsburg , fully loaded with Prudhoe Bay crude from the pipeline terminal in Valdez, arrived on the scene. Riding low in the water, it was the ideal platform in those conditions for getting the hundreds of passengers out of the lifeboats to a safe haven, especially as weather conditions continued to deteriorate. The only problem was the passengers would have to climb 40-foot rope ladders to get aboard the giant tanker.      After having been wedged into the lifeboats and wallowing around in heaving seas, some of the elderly passengers (including those who were wheelchair-bound, suffering from cancer, epilepsy, having a malarial relapse) were in no shape to attempt this feat. That didn’t stop some from gallantly giving it a go. They made it to the top, but, knowing how bad storms in the Gulf could get–and knowing they were about to be struck by the remnants of a typhoon–the rescuers realized they had to speed things up.      Thus began one of the most amazing sea rescues of all time as Coast Guard helicopters hoisted the passengers, between ten and fifteen per load, aboard and then transferred them to the tanker. The elderly passengers, at this point some of them suffering from hypothermia, dehydration, and severe sea sickness, had to crawl into the steel basket, cling for dear life, and be hauled through the cold, windy air, swinging above the growing waves, to the side of the helicopter where they were dragged inside.      It took the rescuers, sometimes racing away with a load of passengers to Yakutat to re-fuel, from 9am to 6pm to transfer 380  Prinsendam  refugees to the tanker. The Coast Guard cutter  Boutwell  had 80 passengers on board. Included in the rescued were the captain, crew, and passengers who had been left on the now completely abandoned and severely listing cruise ship.      By now the remnants of the typhoon were lashing the Gulf with thirty-five foot seas and forty knot winds. The rescuers decided it was time to head for harbor. Shortly afterwards they realized that some Air Force personnel (rescue divers who had been lowered to help get passengers out of the lifeboats and into the basket) and twenty passengers were missing. Night closed in as the storm struck in full force.

 Conditions made it unsafe for the helicopters and planes to continue searching for the missing lifeboat. Instead, the Coast Guard cutter  Boutwell  turned back and began a search they were afraid would end in disappointment and tragedy. At 1am, to their amazement, they found the lost lifeboat and managed to get everyone safely aboard.      What was it like for those alone in the small vessel, at the mercy of towering seas, icy, spray-filled winds, worried that they might have been forgotten and abandoned? Many of the elderly passengers said they were at peace, despite their physical misery, with the idea that it might end here in this unforeseen adventure. They prayed to be rescued, but they knew that whatever happened they’d experienced long, full lives.     Muriel Marvinney recalled, “From all over the [lifeboat] voices joined in repeating the prayer Jesus taught us. In spite of the Babel of so many languages–English, Dutch, French, German–we were all one at that moment.”     Incredibly, despite the conditions and the elderliness and frailty of many of the passengers, not a single person was lost as the cruise ship  Prinsendam  sank through 9,000 feet of cold water to settle on the floor of the Gulf of Alaska, 225 miles offshore. The Coast Guard attributed this, modest about their own part in the rescue, to the patience, endurance, and good will of the passengers. They believed that it was because they were elderly, because they had learned the wisdom not to panic and instead to quietly fall in line with the rescuers’ orders, that one of the greatest maritime rescues of all time was pulled off without loss of life.

Note: Many of the details come from the book  Burning Cold  by H. Paul Jeffries. For those interested in reading it, be aware that while it has a wealth of detail, the author goes on awkward tangents and the book probably could have used more editing.

This blog post is for retired USN Chief, Melanie. Thank you for reminding me to write it.

5/26/2016 12:45:46 am

Beautifully written, ADOW! Thank you for this edge-of-the-seat, concise post about the Prinsendam rescue. I hope that the pollen is abating, and that you are feeling better.

5/26/2016 08:34:48 am

Thanks, Jo! Yes, I think the pollen is starting to lay down…but every time I think that it gets worse, so who knows? Craziness! 🙂

5/26/2016 12:33:32 pm

Fascinating story and one I had not known. Sorry to read you are still suffering from the pollen pollution.

5/26/2016 01:45:05 pm

Thanks, Sis. I’ve gotten behind in all my emails due to the pollen issues. To everyone I owe an email to, sorry, and I will catch up soon!

5/27/2016 07:21:27 am

How interesting! Thank you for sharing this story,

5/27/2016 07:37:25 am

You’re welcome, Wendy. Thanks for reading. This has been something of a lost story, which I think is too bad. I think it’s important to show how the elderly are better in some situations than young people. I’ve read hundreds of maritime disaster accounts and this is the only one, with this number of people and in these conditions, where no lives were lost. It’s an amazing accomplishment by everyone involved, but especially by the elderly passengers with their calmness and endurance.

Denise McDermott Reyes

1/6/2018 11:13:31 am

Please see my comment below. My Grandfather, Paul P. Noyes died as a result of injuries received on this ship during the storm. He was showering in his room and was knocked over due to the waves hitting the ship. He had a severe brain injury and never regained consciousness. He unfortunately died approximately a week later in a Seattle Hospital.

3/25/2017 02:09:05 pm

Raymond Moody and JD Nixon were Antenna Mahicans stationed in Kodiak Alaska They were ordered to be on Alert and not sleep soundly. They were responsible to make sure the the 4 Antennas remained in operation during this rescue.. They had just completed maintenance on the Antennas and knew they were in good shape. However, communications in this rescue was critical. For their service they received recognition form the United States Congress.

Tara (ADOW)

3/25/2017 03:01:44 pm

The reply to button isn’t working so I’ll have to reply in line. I wanted to thank you, J.D. Nixon for sharing the above information about the antennas and those making sure they worked. They definitely deserve the recognition considering how badly this story could have gone if communication had been a problem.

John Cassidy

3/24/2019 09:56:41 am

Communications was a problem as High Frequencies (HF) radio propagation was relied on as Satellite Communication systems were pretty much didn’t exist in 1980. HF reliability depends on bouncing radio signal off of ionized layers in the ionosphere which do not have stable layer boundaries. Unreliable long range (HF) communications between Anchorage and Juneau required relay via amateur radio operators through California. Even the on-scene Air Force HC-130 had a tough time maintaining long range communications with RCC Elmendorf. Due to curvature of the earth the VHF/UHF surface to surface range from lifeboat 6 was limited to ships to about 2.6 to 3 NM.

1/6/2018 11:04:15 am

It’s not true that there were no deaths from this tragic voyage. My Grandfather Paul P. Noyes succumbed about a week later to injuries he received while onboard the ship without ever regaining consciousness. It’s a harrowing story and the way my Grandmother, Ester Alma Noyes was treated was heinous. The Captain didn’t want to pay docking fees to let her disembark in Seattle so she was hoisted onto a dock and lost her shoes in the ocean in the process. It is a tradegy our family will never forget.

1/6/2018 11:17:05 am

Thank you for sharing this. In my research I never found any mention of this and it’s definitely part of the story that should be told. I’m so sorry your family suffered this tragedy. I did read that the crew behaved very badly in many cases–it was the elderly passengers who were the real heroes of this story for their incredible endurance, lack of panic, and stoicism. I could hardly believe all of them survived so it, sadly, doesn’t surprise me to learn that at least one of them didn’t make it. Thank you again for taking the time to share this important part of the story fo the Prinsendam. Hopefully future writers, when they do their research, will come across this and include it in their accounts.

Denise Reyes link

11/4/2019 08:31:43 pm

Hi, sorry it took me so long to get back. Somehow I’ve missed these replies. I see the controversy regarding my story. I assure you my Grandfather Paul P. Noyes was taken off this ship unconscious and died approx. a week later without ever regaining consciousness. If you check the passenger logs and research my Grandfathers passing in Seattle you can confirm my story. The problem may lie in the fact that he wasn’t injured during the fire and subsequent sinking. He was injured when the ship was hit by a large wave earlier in the week. I was always told the Coast Guard told the captain not to take the ship out to sea because of the storm and large waves on the day my Grandfather was injured. I will contact my Uncle Don Noyes and get the details. Thanks, Denise Reyes

4/21/2018 01:30:49 pm

The Captain did what he needed to do. There was never a conversation during the rescue about docking in Seattle or any other port. Yes returning to Alaska or Canada was an option. But a dead vessel is rather difficult to move.

11/4/2019 08:24:05 pm

My Grandfather Paul P. Noyes indeed was taken off the ship unconscious in Seattle where he succumbed to his injuries approximately a week later without ever regaining consciousness. his wife, my Grandmother Ester A. Noyes was taken off the boat along with him. This transpired before the ship caught fire and sunk. I will contact my Uncle Don Noyes more precise details and get back to you.

4/21/2018 01:39:53 pm

The second picture is wrong..the vessel went down over SB. I know that the stairs to the crew pool was on SB and not on PS

Mathieu Oosterwijk

4/21/2018 11:58:22 pm

I will pass this response on to my colleague 2nd Officer at the time, Paul Schol, who together with me and the 3rd Officer Paul Welling were responsible for the embarkation of passengers and crew into the lifeboats and liferafts and subsequent lowering them into the sea. As far as I am aware there were no unconscious passengers loaded into any of the lifeboats nor was there any intention from the captain to steer the burning vessel towards Seattle for disembarking passengers wounded or not!. A dead ship in the water will be extremely difficult to steer towards the shores.

John Cassidy link

3/24/2019 09:27:04 am

This recently written book has a bit more details of the rescue. In the book it is disclosed cold weather experts were predicting at the time the Prinsendam began lowering its lifeboats that half of the people in the lifeboats and rafts would succumb to the elements before they could be rescued, At that time, about 5:50 a.m., temperature was about 4 Celsius/ 40 Fahrenheit with a somewhat calm sea state. https://gorhamprinting.com/book/none-were-lost More accurately it was two Air Force Pararescuemen (PJs), not Air Force rescue divers in lifeboat 6. Info about PJs is found at https://afspecialwarfare.com/pararescue/ A specific request by the Coast Guard for Air Force PJs was rare, typically only when emergency medical treatment was known to be needed. In most instance Rescue Coordination Center dispatches an Air Force HC-130 rescue aircraft with a PJ team on board to parachute into the ocean when there were no Coast Guard vessels within the immediate area or in air refuel capable H-3 or H-53 helicopters with PJs on board. Also the Coast Guard didn’t have any Helicopter Rescue Swimmers prior to March 5, 1985. The Coast Guard after action report for this mission contains the first known official recommendation the Coast Guard establish a helicopter rescue swimmer program. It wasn’t until another attempted rescue on Feb. 12, 1983 off the coast of Virginia did the U.S. Congress insist the Coast Guard have helicopter rescue swimmers. https://gcaptain.com/mv-marine-electric-ship/

8/13/2020 09:52:47 am

Mr. John Cassidy it would be a pleasure if there was any way I could have your email to contact you. i would love to hear more stories over this historic event,

4/30/2019 01:27:03 pm

Thank you for sharing Tara!

Pamela J Clancy

11/4/2019 07:47:47 pm

My grandmother, Genevieve Gardner Denny, was on that cruise ship and wrote a witness of the events that happened that night when the ship was abandoned. I thank God for His mercy that all were saved. All the extemporaneous circumstances that seemed to be against survival were dispelled and all the passengers and crew survived. This was a remarkable rescue on part of the USS Coast Guard and God’s providence. So thankful these many years later (this 2019 which is 39 years since) to see the saving grace all encountered.

Georgia Felopulos

6/19/2023 07:36:52 pm

My grandmother, Carole (I’m not sure what her last name was at the time) Railsback, Nolan, or Felopulos and her youngest son (my uncle Paul Felopulos) were on the ship! 13 years before I was born…and sadly, they are both gone but I’m so thankful I came accross this! Thank you!

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A Cruise Ship Goes Down

Sinking of the prinsendam in 1980 led to one of history’s greatest maritime rescues.

Sinking of the PRINSENDAM, October 4, 1980. The Prisendam was approximately 120 nautical miles south of Yakutat when the fire broke out. U.S. Coast Guard Photograph

By 2015 standards, the Prinsendam, at 427 feet, was tiny. Even in 1980, the ship was the smallest of the five in Holland America's fleet, although it was the newest and, in some ways, the jewel of the fleet. It had been built in 1973 at a cost of $50 million.

Passengers on the Prinsendam had paid between $3,125 and $5,075 for the 29-day voyage from Vancouver through the Inside Passage and then across the North Pacific to Japan, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Some of the passengers were going to stay on an additional two weeks as the ship visited Malaysia, Sumatra, Bali and Java.

Its total of 524 passengers and crew also seems miniscule compared to modern ships in the Alaska fleet that have six or seven times that number. But the difficulties encountered in safely evacuating even that relatively small number of passengers and crew point out just what trouble could await if a similar disaster happened to one of the leviathans in the modern cruise industry.

Still, the evacuation was also a blue print for just how to successfully deal with such a disaster at sea. It became, what Josh Reppinger called in a 1981 article in Popular Mechanics, the "most successful large scale peacetime sea rescue in history."

The Captain of the ill-fated Prinsendam, Cornelius Wabeke, had been a ship master for Holland America for 30 years and was one of the most experienced captains in the fleet. He would later be faulted for his response to the fire but not held solely responsible for the loss of his ship.

“Light rain greeted the Prinsendam as she eased into Ketchikan’s harbor early on Thursday morning, October 2 but the sky brightened to afford a day of sightseeing and shopping along the rustic boardwalk of Creek Street,” H. Paul Jeffers wrote in his 2006 book “Burning Cold: The Cruise Ship Prinsendam and the Greatest Sea Rescue of All Time.”

In his book, Jeffers noted that several passengers had a great time purchasing Native crafts and other items on Creek Street and elsewhere to take to loved ones back home.

“While the passengers were ashore in Ketchikan, the lifeboat crews practiced lowering boats,” Jeffers wrote. “When the Prinsendam was underway in the late afternoon, the sun was peeking through the clouds.”

Before arriving in Ketchikan, the passengers had a safety drill, according to Jeffers. They mustered in the lounge area and were shown how to don a life jacket or life vest and were told which life boat they were assigned to. According to the numerous passenger interviews that Jeffers used in his book, most of the passengers felt the drill had gone well and that they were prepared for any eventually. Of course, none of them really thought they would need to use that information.

Sailing north of Ketchikan, it was a typical day at sea. After dinner the passengers were treated to a variety show, which featured a young Greek musician who went by his first name, Yanni. Yanni would eventually become world famous as a new age keyboard player and the seller of millions of albums through direct sales on television.

On October 3, the ship arrived at Glacier Bay and the passengers enjoyed the day snapping pictures of the glaciers and the ice bergs.

As the ship turned out in the North Pacific on the evening of October 3, most of the passengers headed to their staterooms. Many were on their first trip in the open ocean and Dramamine was the popular nightcap of choice. There was a chance the ship might be bounced around by the remnants of a tropical storm in the next few days, but for now the sea was relatively quiet, especially for October.

Meanwhile down in the bowels of the ship, the engine crew was going about its nightly duties. While nothing is ever routine on a cruise ship, especially one with a four engine propulsion system, they were following the normal procedure of checking each of the multiple cylinders on the engines.

The oilers, greasers and other workers were hard at their tasks around 12:40 am when they saw a blue flame spark as a filter was being changed in a fuel line near one of the engines. A fire immediately broke out and efforts to fight it with fire extinguishers were unsuccessful. Soon the engine room was full of thick black smoke.

As the fire spread, the crew donned breathing apparatuses. It was clear that the fuel line was continuing to leak, making it impossible to contain the fire. Alerted to the problem, the Captain made the decision to try to fight the fire by flooding the engine compartment with carbon dioxide gas.

At the same time, Captain Wabeke had his signal operator send out the “XXX” code to the Coast Guard. The “XXX” code was less urgent than a “mayday” signal or an “SOS.” It merely reported to anyone listening that the ship had a problem, but not one of extreme severity. The message also reported the engine room fire.

The Prisendam was approximately 120 nautical miles south of Yakutat when the fire broke out. It was hundreds of miles away from the ships and planes that would need to rescue it. The Coast Guard rescue center - and its helicopters and aircraft were 250 miles to the west, Air Force rescue aircraft were at Elmendorf Air Base in Anchorage 370 miles to the north.

Sinking of the PRINSENDAM, October 4, 1980. U.S. Coast Guard, 17th District, Photograph Collection, Courtesy Alaska State Library

Coast Guard helicopters were also available in Sitka 170 miles to the southeast. The nearest Coast guard cutters were the Boutwell in Juneau, some 300 miles away, and the Woodrush in Sitka. Other possible resources, in British Columbia, were also hundreds of miles away. If the passengers and crew of the Prinsendam had to abandon ship, it could be hours, if not days before those ships and planes would reach them. But there was a vessel much closer. A 1,000 foot supertanker, the Williamsburgh, had left Valdez with 1.5 million gallons of oil the day before and was some 90 miles south of the Prinsendam when it heard the distress signal. It turned around and began the five hour journey to rendezvous with the stricken cruise ship. Other private vessels, farther away, also heard the distress call and changed course to find the Prinsendam. The 850-foot tanker Sohio was on its way from San Francisco to Valdez, and a container ship, the Portland, was on its way to Anchorage "This is your captain speaking," several passengers later recalled hearing at just after midnight on October 4. "We have a small fire in the engine room. It is under control but for your own safety, please report to the promenade deck." Many of the passengers later related they were first woken by the rumble of an explosion deep in the ship. There were several small explosions touched off the by the fire, shortly after those explosions the ship lost electrical power. Passengers could smell smoke in the corridors and soon the Captain had asked them to muster on the promenade deck. In the dark it was hard to dress and many passengers reached the promenade deck in odd assortments of clothes, some reportedly were even wearing draperies for warmth.

By 2 am, the main lounge on the Promenade Deck was beginning to fill with smoke and some passengers went out on deck to escape the smell. Some went into the Prinsen Club, a smaller lounge toward the bow. They were given snacks and free beverages. The gift shop was opened and sweaters were passed out. Ship entertainers continued to perform.

Shortly before 4 am, the passengers had to go out on deck because the smoke was filling the forward lounge.

Down in the hold, the firefighting efforts were not going well. The carbon dioxide system was working but not effective. The loss of electricity meant that there was no water pressure to fight the flames.

One thing in the ship's favor was that the weather was still calm. Although the remains of a tropical storm were just over the horizon, the Prinsendam was drifting in a calm sea, swells to five feet, winds of 10 mph, the air temperature was 57. Daylight would arrive in a few hours and - with help already on the way from a variety of directions - Captain Wabeke made the decision to abandon ship.

At 6:30 am, he announced: "I'm sorry, the fire is completely out of control, we have to abandon ship."

Given the relative old age of most of the passengers on board, the Captain decided to risk putting them in life rafts sooner rather than later, hoping that the bad weather would hold off and the rescuers would arrive. He knew that evacuating them directly from the ship in heavy seas would be nearly impossible. The fire was already spreading to other parts of the ship, it was starting to list as fire-cracked port holes were letting in seawater and he had no idea how much longer it would stay afloat.

Depending on which account you read, the evacuation either went smoothly or was chaotic. The vessel had six lifeboats that could hold 60-65 people and four large life rafts that could hold an additional 100 passengers. There were also two motor launches that were usually used to liter passengers in locations where the ship anchored in the harbor.

Clearly, there were problems loading some of the lifeboats. Unlike other famous evacuations it wasn't a case of rafts and boats leaving the ship half full. Some of the lifeboats were jammed with up to 90 people when they cast off. But with all the boats away, there were still 15 passengers and 25 crewmembers left on the stricken liner.

Fortunately, the Coast Guard and Air Force planes and helicopters began arriving on scene and with them were fire fighters brought to tackle the blaze and save the ship. But even the fire fighters had trouble. Their pumps were not sufficient, a large one was lost into the sea, and after an hour and a half, they conceded the battle was basically lost.

The best news happened at 7:45 am when the oil tanker Williamsburgh arrived on scene. The fact that it was fully loaded also was a good omen because it was riding lower in the water and it would be a little easier to transfer the Prinsendam passengers and crew to the giant tanker. Even so, passengers would have to climb up 40-foot rope ladders to get from the lifeboats and life rafts onto the tanker and given the age of many of the passengers that would have been a challenge. By 9 am, it was clear that the helicopters would have to hoist most of the passengers onto the tanker. Fortunately, it had a helicopter pad.

The helicopters quickly began hoisting the passengers - between 10 and 15 per load - on board and then transferring them to the Williamsburgh. It was a long process, according to Petty Officer Oliverson, a helicopter hoist operator, who spoke to Reppinger in 1981.

"It took about three to five minutes to hoist one person 20-30 feet into the copter...The basket would be lowered into the lifeboat, someone would somehow crawl in, hold on for dear life, and we'd hoist him or her into the copter. Then another crew member would flip the basket over (crewman had to literally bang the knuckles of some frightened passengers to get them to release their grip) and then carry the person back in the copter where we tried to distribute the weight evenly."

When the helicopter was full, Oliverson said, the copter would go over to the Williamsburgh, drop off the passengers in about five minutes and then return to the life boats for another run. Occasionally, a helicopter would take a load of passsengers to Yakutat where it had to go to refuel.

Once on board the Williamsburgh, or the Coast Guard cutter Boutwell which arrived at mid day from Sitka, a team of doctors, nurses and other rescuers triaged the passengers deciding which ones needed more immediate care. Besides passengers suffering from exposure and motion sickness, there were also cancer patients, epileptics, even a passenger suffering from a malarial relapse. It was a testament to the skill of the responders that all the passengers eventually recovered.

By 6:30 pm it was announced that all the life boats and life rafts had been emptied and the Williamsburgh, with 380 Prinsendam passengers on board, was returning to Valdez, which was the only port large enough for it to dock. The Boutwell was heading back to Sitka with 80 passengers on board. By now the typhoon remnants - and its 35 foot seas and 40 knot winds was arriving.

But then the Air Force realized that some of its personnel were not accounted for. Another survey found that they were in a final lifeboat with 20 passengers. Night closed in as the storm began to rage. Because it was unsafe to continue to fly, the Boutwell turned around in hopes of finding the final lifeboat. Finally at 1 am, a cutter found the life boat and pulled the passengers and Air Force rescuers on board.

After the storm passed, the Prinsendam was still afloat. Coast Guard officials wanted to tow it to Juneau or Sitka, but Holland America demanded that it be towed to Portland instead. When it was some 70 miles west of Sitka, the end came.

"Debris covered the decks, the bridge was gutted, the hull and cabin-sides were scorched with ugly black streaks,” Eppinger wrote in 1981. “Smoke continued to drift from its innards. The Prinsendam listed dangerously as it took on more water through its blown-out portholes. Finally, just after daybreak on the overcast morning of Oct. 11, it rolled over on its side, resting there for a minute and a half, before sliding bow first to the bottom in 8,820 feet of water."

Sinking of the PRINSENDAM, October 4, 1980. Description from Coast Guard: The cruise ship PRINSENDAM was abandoned 200 miles off the coast of Alaska, due to fire; over 500 passengers and crew were rescued; the ship sank seven days later U.S. Coast Guard, 17th District, Photograph Collection, Courtesy Alaska State Library

Although the ship sank off the Alaskan coast, the inquest into the sinking took place in the Netherlands, the home of Holland America. The loss of ship prevented officials from a thorough investigation as to why the fire started and what could have been done to prevent its spread.

In general the inquest determined that fire drills on the ship were inadequate and that the Captain had delayed measures such as the use of carbon dioxide that could have been successful. Some fault was also laid at the feet of the vessel owners for being generally aware of the problem of occasional high pressure fuel line leaks.

Although the Captain was found to have some fault in the sinking, the inquest also determined that several of his crew members hadn't “served him well” in their responses to the fire and that he could not be blamed for the loss of his ship. Captain Wabeke’s license was suspended for several weeks and other officers on the ship also had their licenses suspended for up to two months.

The sinking also caused the Coast Guard to change some of its procedures, most notably working to make sure that its helicopters could be refueled on scene in the future and not have to fly hours to land for more fuel. The Coast Guard was also impressed by the skill of the Air Force rescue swimmers and that led to the formation of the Coast Guard’s own rescue swimmer program, which has been credited with saving hundreds of lives in the decades since.

On the official Coast Guard website, the successful evacuation of the Prinsendam is rated as its second greatest rescue operation, second only to the evacuation of more than 30,000 people during Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.

The rescue is also remembered every year when the Prinsendam Rescue Association meets in Seattle on the anniversary of the sinking. People who took part in the rescue most recently gathered from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4, 2015.

There is a Prinsendam currently in the Holland America fleet. In 2002, Holland America purchased the Seaborne Sun, which had been built in 1988, and renamed it the Prinsendam. The nearly 700 foot long ship carries approximately 1,200 passengers and crew. The ship offers "boutique" cruises to more out of the way tourism destinations such as the Black Sea, South America and Antarctica.

Edited by Mary Kauffman

The miracle rescue By PA1 Day Bosell USGC Military History - Includes USCG Photographs of rescue... http://www.uscg.mil/history/ops/sar/1980_PrinsendamCB.pdf
Columns by Dave Kiffer Historical Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer

Seascape Alaska 5: Gulf of Alaska Remotely Operated Vehicle Exploration and Mapping

Search for prinsendam.

During the Seascape Alaska 5: Gulf of Alaska Remotely Operated Vehicle Exploration and Mapping expedition, the team will search for, and if found, explore the wreck of Prinsendam , a 427-foot cruise liner that sank off Sitka, Alaska, in 1980 after the second greatest rescue operation in the history of the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The dive will provide scientists with important information to better understand how the shipwreck and surrounding marine environment have changed over time.

Black and white historic image of a cruise liner in Alaska

The Holland-America Line began sailing in 1872, bringing passengers across the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands to New York City. Eighty-six percent of these passengers were immigrants beginning new lives in the United States. From these humble beginnings, the company quickly expanded into international travel, supported efforts during both World Wars, and began acquiring other businesses. Holland-America first arrived in Alaska after purchasing the locally owned Westours, Inc.

Today, Southeast Alaska attracts an average of one million cruise line passengers during the cruising season of mid-April to September. Ports like Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, and Juneau welcome the majority of cruisers on a variety of itineraries and ships. To better reach this market in the 1970s, the Holland-America line contracted the Merwede yard to construct its first purpose-built cruise ship, SS Prinsendam , at a cost of $27 million U.S. dollars. After a 1972 launch and subsequent sea trials, Prinsendam embarked on its first Alaska cruise on the inside passage in 1975.

After its first stop on a special cruise going from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Japan, Prinsendam left Ketchikan, Alaska, on October 2, 1980, with 524 passengers. A spark ignited a fire in the engine room during a routine fuel filter change, and the engine room quickly became engulfed. At 0058 local time on October 4, 1980, USCG Communication Stations in Kodiak, Alaska, and San Francisco, California, received the initial security broadcast reporting fire on board and quickly relayed the emergency radio broadcast to Air Station Sitka, Marine Safety Office Juneau and Rescue Coordination Center Kodiak. Sitka had their first helicopters airborne 29 minutes later, and within 45 minutes, USCG Cutter Boutwell (WHEC-719) was underway to Prinsendam ’s position.

Prinsendam crew fought the fire for six hours while simultaneously calming and organizing passengers on the main deck before the call to abandon ship was made. Passengers were lowered into lifeboats just as air support from the USCG arrived. Rescue crews began transferring passengers from lifeboats to a nearby tanker, Williamsburg , and USCG Cutter Boutwell via helicopter hoists. Passengers, rescuers, and crew endured freezing conditions, 45-knot winds, and 35-foot seas. These events on October 4, 1980, amount to the second greatest rescue in USCG history, now only behind the Gulf Coast evacuations during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

After all passengers were safely transferred, rescuers were able to extinguish the blaze and use the ship’s anchor chain to get Prinsendam under tow by the tug Commodore Straits , contracted by Holland-America and instructed to tow the smoldering hulk to Portland, Oregon. Days later, while still being towed, the cruise ship began taking on water, and eventually capsized and sank. Since the ship sank outside U.S. territorial waters, the ship’s flag country, the Netherlands, conducted the investigation. The ship has not been located or documented since.

Prinsendam passengers in a life raft receive the USCG rescue basket for helicopter evacuation.

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive during the Seascape Alaska 5 expedition will offer the ocean science community an opportunity to locate the wreck and possibly provide the first look into Prinsendam ’s current condition. This also provides a chance to document a unique ship type by archaeological standards: the modern cruise liner. Specific dive objectives include:

  • Conduct a hydrographic survey in the last known position of Prinsendam and identify high probability targets for further assessment.
  • Conduct a visual baseline archaeological documentation survey.
  • Collect visual photogrammetric data for 3D photomodel processing on targeted ship features and artifacts.
  • Document fire damage and evidence of rescue efforts.

The team aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will first have to locate Prinsendam using the ship’s hull-mounted multibeam echosounder before deploying remotely operated vehicles Deep Discoverer and Seirios . Prinsendam was submitted to NOAA Ocean Exploration as a maritime heritage priority site for the 2023 Seascape Alaska Expeditions by Dr. Mike Brennan and Dr. James Delgado at SEARCH, Inc. . This effort is dedicated to the heroic efforts of servicemen and women from the United States Coast Guard, the United States Air Force, the Canadian Air Force, and supporting vessels.

By Phil Hartmeyer, Marine Archaeologist, NOAA Ocean Exploration/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Published September 5, 2023

Boswell, Day. “The Long Blue Line: Prinsendam-Coast Guard’s ‘Miracle Rescue’ Over 40 Years Ago!” United States Coast Guard website, April 29, 2022. Accessed Aygyst 28, 2023. https://www.mycg.uscg.mil/News/Article/3009282/the-long-blue-line-prinsendamcoast-guards-miracle-rescue-over-40-years-ago/ .

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Alaska. “Alaska at a Glance.” Accessed August 28, 2023. https://akcruise.org/economy/alaska-at-a-glance/#:~:text=Cruise%20tourist%20numbers%20ricocheted%20dramatically,to%20the%20region%20in%202022 .

Holland America Line. “Sailing 150 Years.” Accessed August 28, 2023. https://www.hollandamerica.com/150th-anniversary/en/timeline/ .

Nautilus International. “Prinsendam.” Accessed August 28, 2023. https://www.nautilusint.org/en/news-insight/ships-of-the-past/2023/march/prinsendam/#:~:text=First%20of%20many,vessels%20of%20the%20same%20design .

Netherlands Court of Inquiry. Prinsendam Fire and Loss: Transcript of Findings of the Netherlands Court of Inquiry, Session 16, 17, 18. November 1981. Translated by the United States Coast Guard Historian’s Office.

United States Coast Guard. Commandant’s Bulletin. Issue 48-80. November 24, 1980. Provided by the United States Coast Guard Historian’s Office.

Coast Guard suspends search after charter boat sinks off Alaska, leaving 1 dead and 4 missing

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for survivors after a charter boat sank off Alaska on Sunday, leaving one person dead and four others missing.

The search began after the Coast Guard at Sector Juneau received a call Sunday night from Kingfisher Charters alerting them that a 30-foot charter vessel with five people on board had not arrived at its destination, the agency said in a news release .

The vessel had last been seen underway Sunday afternoon, it said.

Search crews found one person dead Sunday night before locating the boat, which was partially submerged off Low Island, about 10 miles west of Sitka, the agency said.

They continued to search for the four missing people Monday but suspended the operation at sunset, the Coast Guard said.

The people who were on the boat have not been publicly identified.

Kingfisher Charters did not immediately respond to an overnight request for comment. 

Air and vessel rescue teams searched 825 square miles over the course of more than 20 hours, the Coast Guard said. A number of good Samaritan boats also helped with the search.

“Despite our best efforts and those of several partner agencies, we were not able to find the four remaining individuals," said Darwin Jensen, Captain of the Port Southeast Alaska.

"Suspending a search is never an easy decision. We extend our deepest sympathy to the loved ones during this difficult time," he said.

alaska cruise ship sinking

Chantal Da Silva reports on world news for NBC News Digital and is based in London.

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Flashback in history: MS Prinsendam fire and sinking 4 October 1980

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The cruise ship Prinsendam was built in 1973 for Holland America Line. It was somewhat smaller than average size for its day, carrying about 350 passengers and 200 crew. Just after midnight on 4 October 1980, a fire broke out in the engineroom as the ship was transiting the Gulf of Alaska. Shortly thereafter, the master sent a message to the US Coast Guard requesting assistance.

The ship was then 120 miles south of Cape Spencer and outside the range of USCG helicopters. The Coast Guard advised the master to send out an SOS, but he refused. The chief radio officer sent one anyway. Ships in the area responded, including the tanker Williamsburg and the USCGC Boutwell, which served as the on-scene coordinator. The master gave the order to abandon ship at sunrise.

The Coast Guard, Air Force, and Canadian Forces dispatched long-range helicopters, which carried persons from the lifeboats to the Williamsburg. The Prinsendam was taken under tow, but the fire could not be extinguished and the ship was listing heavily in deteriorating weather. Permission to bring the ship into sheltered waters was denied by the US Coast Guard, but probably had no impact, as the ship sank shortly thereafter. On October 11, 1980, the Prinsendam capsized and sunk, only 7 years after being built.

The Williamsburg brought 359 passengers and crew safely to Valdez.

There were no fatalities and no serious injuries.

prinsendam

In April 1981, Popular Mechanics magazine published an article about the disaster, reproduced here .

In 2002, Holland America Lines acquired the Seabourn Sun and renamed her Prinsendam - as of 2004, she is still in service with them. Click here for information about that ship.

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Reblogged this on .

I was reading the because my husband was on the USCG ship that helped in the rescue, and actually was the one who took this picture .. your facts are not correct.. it was the USCG cutter Munroe that came to the rescue, not the Bouttwell!!! I'm sad, this would have been a good read to show his daughters. He actually took several pictures.. this was one of them.

Hi Lynette, Thank you for getting in touch with us.

We'd be glad to amend the text if you provide us with the required info. We will then cross reference the information provided with a few other sources and if it checks-out we will do it.

Pls revert at [email protected] Use as reference the title: Flashback in history: MS Prinsendam fire and sinking 4 October 1980

Best regards

We have a news aritcle , and more pictures taken by my husband who was on the USCG Munroe at the time this happened.. the 13th district out of seattle is where he was stationed. I find it interesting, that three of the articles i've read.. have different ships, and different facts. He witnessed this first hand... I can see why there is 'fake' news ... wonder where these 'facts' came from inthe first place.

My husband was on the Williamsburg. We still have a blanket from the Prinsendam and the photos in the Readers Digest were the ones he took from the Williamsburg.

Sorry.,.. but there is no record of the MUNRO being involved in the Prinsendam rescue. The USCGC BOUTWELL was the first CG surface asset on-scene followed by the CGC MIDGETTE and CGC WOODRUSH. It is well documented here: https://media.defense.gov/2018/Apr/26/2001908643/-1/-1/0/BOUTWELL1968.PDF.PDF . And in official CG records here: http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2011/10/history-arctic-rescue-changes-face-of-coast-guard-operations/ . Might your husband have been on the MELLON and not the MUNRO?

I'm sorry to contradict you but it WAS Boutwell who responded from Juneau. Munro was not involved in this rescue, to my knowledge. I was manning the radio watch at Commsta San Francisco/NMC that night and we were there for the whole thing from the beginning.

My Father also was working there ship as a bartender , crew ship from Indonesian, any one have more pictures

A newer book "None Were Lost" by Stephen J. Corcoran, published recently is a well-informed, accurate accounting of this event. It was recommended to me by David J. Ring Jr., who was radio officer aboard the supertanker Williamasburg, and who still has an audio recording of the Prinsendam's distress call. It is his website, not mine, that include as a link.

I was on the search and rescue desk that night as the officer in charge. We received a call from the captain via marine radio. He stated that a fire had started and his CO2 extinguishers had failed. He requested assistance and I spent the night coordinating helicopters and C-130 aircraft to scene. I had a difficult time convincing Headquarters at Juneau Alaska to get their cutter underway. I am proud to have been a part of saving all the people onboard. I still have a long article from the Lodi, California news paper about the case. If you want some more details, I think I can still remember them.

The USCGC Douglas Munro (WHEC-724) arrived in Seattle about the same time as the USCGC Boutwell; August of 1973. That Munro left Seattle in 1980 for duty in Hawaii. I cannot find anything mentioned in the articles I have transcribed about the Prinsendam rescue, but that only means the news and other accounts did not mention the vessel because it took a subordinate position to the activities of the Boutwell. Also the USCG Commandant's Bulletin Issue 48-80 regarding the Prinsendam does not mention the Munro. I would be very interested to see any other photographs or hear any other stories Lynette Smith or her husband can relay.

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Search suspended for 4 people missing after Alaskan charter boat sinks: Coast Guard

The five people aboard the boat were last seen Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard suspended its search late Monday for four missing people after a charter fishing boat sank off the coast of Alaska.

Rescuers located one deceased individual and the vessel partially submerged near a small island 10 miles from Sitka, Alaska, according to the Coast Guard.

Kingfisher Charters, a Sitka-based company that operates all-inclusive fishing trips, reported the missing vessel to the Coast Guard on Sunday evening. The boat was carrying four passengers and one guide when it sank, according to the Coast Guard.

PHOTO: Sitka, Alaska.

The 30-foot aluminum vessel was last seen on Sunday afternoon near Kruzof Island, less than 10 miles from the small rocky island where the ship was found.

"Despite our best efforts and those of several partner agencies, we were not able to find the four remaining individuals, " Coast Guard Captain Darwin Jensen said. "Suspending a search is never an easy decision. We extend our deepest sympathy to the loved ones during this difficult time.

MORE: 2 people, dog rescued from sinking boat off Georgia coast

Kingfisher Charters offers all-inclusive fishing packages and operates guided trips on 30-foot power boats that can carry up to six anglers on a boat, according to the company website .

Kingfisher Charters did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Rescuers, including the Coast Guard, local officials, and private boaters, searched 825 miles over 20 hours before suspending the search.

MORE: Polar bear kills mother, 1-year-old son after rampage through remote Alaska village

Sitka often attracts anglers from across the United States for its king salmon and halibut fishing, both currently in season. Located in Alaska’s Southeast panhandle, Sitka has over 8,000 residents across Baranof Island, according to the latest census data.

ABC News' Jenna Harrison contributed to this report.

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Coast Guard Suspends Search After Charter Boat Sinks Off Alaska, Leaving 1 Dead and 4 Missing

Teams searched a total of 825 square miles over the course of more than 20 hours, the coast guard said, by chantal da silva | nbc news • published may 30, 2023.

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for survivors after a charter boat sank off the coast of Alaska on Sunday, leaving one person dead and four others missing.

The search began after Coast Guard workers at Sector Juneau received a call Sunday night from Kingfisher Charters alerting them that a 30-foot charter vessel with five people on board had not arrived at its destination, the agency said in a  news release .

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The vessel had last been seen underway Sunday afternoon, it said.

Search crews found one person dead Sunday night before locating the boat, which was partially submerged off Low Island, about 10 miles west of Sitka, the agency said.

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They continued to search for the four people still missing Monday, but suspended the operation at sunset, the Coast Guard said.

The person found dead and the four missing have yet to be publicly identified.

Read the full story on  NBCNews.com here .

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alaska cruise ship sinking

Cruise Ships Aren’t Ready for Instant Tsunamis

Landslides can cause sudden, powerful tsunamis—and no one really knows how to navigate them.

A cruise ship travels in Alaska against a backdrop of fjords and glaciers.

This article was originally published by Hakai Magazine .

In 2015, 76 million cubic meters of rock crashed from the rugged cliffs above a southeastern Alaska fjord and into the water below. The landslide sparked a nearly 200-meter-tall wave that roared down the narrow Taan Fiord and out into Icy Bay. No one witnessed the collapse, but a year later, the geologist Bretwood Higman was in the area taking detailed measurements of the tsunami’s effects. Looking up from his work, Higman saw a massive cruise ship crossing the fjord’s mouth. He was stunned.

“It’d never occurred to me that a cruise ship would go into Icy Bay,” Higman says. An image of tsunami-tossed ships trapped in the rocky passage filled his mind. “There are many ways in which that could work out really badly.” He couldn’t get the picture out of his head.

Landslide-generated tsunamis are low-probability, high-consequence events. But as rising temperatures cause glaciers to melt, the steep slopes of southeastern Alaska’s numerous fjords are becoming unstable . Once buttressed by ice, many exposed cliffs now stand unsupported and at risk of collapse as the glaciers that once held them up rapidly retreat. Heavy rains and thawing permafrost are further increasing the hazards. And with tourists flocking to Alaska’s rugged coast , “there are now these huge concentrations of people that are going right to the areas of highest risk,” Higman says. We’ve increased our vulnerability to disaster, and we’ve increased the probability, he says. This risk is rising in coastal regions around the world that share Alaska’s conditions, such as Greenland, Chile, Norway, and New Zealand.

Unlike tsunamis triggered by earthquakes far offshore, which take time to strike coastal communities, tsunamis triggered by coastal landslides appear suddenly and can cause significantly higher waves, Higman says. That poses a greater threat to people in boats.

Read: The lifesaving potential of underwater earthquake monitors

The growing threat has been gnawing at Amanda Bauer, who’s operated day cruises for 17 years, navigating the tight channels around Alaska’s Prince William Sound, including in the Barry Arm fjord, where a 500-million-cubic-meter slab of unstable terrain is teetering above the retreating Barry Glacier . “I think about it a lot when I’m up there—what would I do?” Bauer says. “Sometimes I’ll be sitting there, surrounded by ice; I couldn’t go more than two knots if I wanted to. That’s different than having open water where I can turn and burn if I see something happening.”

Concerned about how captains should respond to such an extreme threat, Higman dove into the existing scientific literature on how ships can ride out tsunami waves. Focusing only on research related to coastal landslide-triggered tsunamis, his search turned up little, save for some one-off case studies and eyewitness accounts of historical events, such as the time in 1958 when a wave nearly the height of Toronto’s CN Tower capsized two boats in Lituya Bay, Alaska, and killed five people. Scientific efforts to model landslide-generated tsunamis and their effects on vessels are just beginning, which means there are scant data to inform guidelines.

Higman found that the official guidance from the United States’ National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program is similarly lacking. That advice, informed by the effects of offshore tsunamis, essentially boils down to three bullet points: For docked vessels, abandon ship and head for high ground on foot. For vessels in deep water, go out to even deeper water. And for vessels near shore, choose to either beach the boat and run, or flee to deeper water. This one-size-fits-all advice is meant to apply to everything from fishing boats to 150-passenger day cruisers.

Landslide-generated tsunamis can strike before experts are able to detect them and issue warnings, and Higman says the captains he’s spoken with would never choose to beach—and potentially destroy—their vessel and attempt to evacuate with passengers and crew up a rugged Alaska shoreline without even knowing when the wave will arrive or how far it will run up the coast.

Although it’s currently difficult to predict the arrival time or size of a landslide-generated tsunami in advance, Higman says current guidelines could better explain how tsunamis generally work. Tsunami waves differ fundamentally from the wind waves mariners are used to navigating, he says, which can throw off a captain’s intuition. For one thing, tsunami waves pick up speed in deeper water and grow considerably taller in shallow water. The depths of Alaska’s fjords can vary widely, so a captain could think they have plenty of time to outrun a tsunami, only to have the wave catch up and break right on top of them.

Tsunamis confined to fjords also tend to slosh around like water in a bathtub, creating unpredictable currents in excess of 100 kilometers per hour. Those three bullet points of guidance don’t get into these nuances of tsunamis’ interactions with Alaska’s complex shoreline, Higman says. The current guidelines may also underestimate the expertise of vessel operators, he says, who are used to making quick decisions in hazardous conditions.

Elena Suleimani, a tsunami modeler for the Alaska Earthquake Center and co-author of the existing guidelines, admits that they’re imperfect. Although she’s created harbor-specific maps outlining where the water is deep enough for a ship to safely ride out a tsunami, Suleimani doesn’t feel comfortable giving advice to vessel operators: “I have no idea how to operate boats,” she says.

So, on a mission to give captains the best advice possible, Higman is running a workshop with the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (RCAC) in Valdez, Alaska, this month. The event will bring together tsunami scientists and vessel operators to compile their knowledge and, hopefully, work out some more practicable recommendations.

At this point, Higman can’t say exactly what the proper guidance should be. But although the workshop will focus on improving advice for the captains of small craft, Chad Hults, a geologist with the National Park Service, says operators of larger vessels, such as cruise ships, need to consider the threat of landslide-generated tsunamis as well. Hults says the NPS is keen to begin talks with the cruise lines that frequent Glacier Bay, where a dozen slabs of land seem ready to slide at any moment.

During tourism season, Hults says, “we have 260 cruise ships—two cruise ships a day—going into Glacier Bay. There’s no other place in the park system where we have 4,000 people on a boat and a pretty obvious hazard that could cause some harm.”

Read: The tsunami effect

Similarly, says Alan Sorum, the maritime-operations project manager for the Prince William Sound RCAC, there are no official tsunami hazard guidelines for the oil tankers visiting Valdez, Alaska—the endpoint of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. “If you capsize a big vessel like that,” Sorum says, “it would be a big problem cleaning that up.”

So far, Alaska’s mariners have managed to avoid the worst. A tsunami hasn’t caused an oil spill or killed anyone aboard a boat in Alaska in 60 years. “With all my effort on this, there’s this voice in the back of my head that’s like, ‘Maybe it’s not a big deal; maybe I’m wasting my time,’” Higman says.

But then he thinks about Barry Arm, Lituya Bay, and the cruise ship he saw sailing past the mouth of Taan Fiord. He tallies the dozens of unstable slopes known to be lurking across Alaska, all waiting to collapse into bays and fjords. “And,” he says, “I do think that, at some point, [the situation] is going to explode.”

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Tragedy that left 5 dead or missing puts spotlight on safety in Alaska charter fishing industry

Boats jockey for position minutes before the opening of the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery on March 23, 2014, in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka is the home port for a charter fishing boat that sank in nearby waters killing three and leaving two lost at sea in late May 2023. The tragedy has put a spotlight on the safety of southeast Alaska's vibrant charter fishing industry and on the port town of Sitka, where charter operators charge thousands of dollars per person for guided fishing trips. (James Poulson/The Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP, File)

Boats jockey for position minutes before the opening of the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery on March 23, 2014, in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka is the home port for a charter fishing boat that sank in nearby waters killing three and leaving two lost at sea in late May 2023. The tragedy has put a spotlight on the safety of southeast Alaska’s vibrant charter fishing industry and on the port town of Sitka, where charter operators charge thousands of dollars per person for guided fishing trips. (James Poulson/The Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP, File)

FILE - This January 2019 photo shows Sitka Channel in Sitka, Alaska, the home port for a charter fishing boat that sank in nearby waters killing three and leaving two lost at sea in late May 2023. The tragedy has put a spotlight on the safety of southeast Alaska’s vibrant charter fishing industry and on the port town of Sitka, where charter operators charge thousands of dollars per person for guided fishing trips. (James Poulson/The Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP, File)

FILE - Homes in downtown overlook the harbor, in Sitka, Alaska, on March 26, 2008. Sitka is the home port for a charter fishing boat that sank in late May 2023 in nearby waters killing three and leaving two lost at sea. The tragedy has put a spotlight on the safety of southeast Alaska’s vibrant charter fishing industry and on the port town of Sitka, where charter operators charge thousands of dollars per person for guided fishing trips. (AP Photo/Chris Miller, File)

The cruise ship Quantum of the Seas passes through Sitka Sound, Thursday, June 1, 2023, as seen from near Low Island, the site of a fatal charter boat accident, Sunday, May 28. (James Poulson/The Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP)

A harbor seal pokes its head up near Low Island in Sitka Sound, Thursday, June 1, 2023. The area was the site of a fatal charter boat accident, Sunday, May 28. (James Poulson/The Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP)

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Morgan Robidou posed next to the bright aluminum hull of his prized new vessel, a 30-foot (9-meter) fishing boat that he could use to take friends, family or tourists out after salmon or halibut in the bountiful waters of southeast Alaska.

“Official boat owner,” he wrote when he posted the photo on social media last October, to congratulatory responses from friends.

Seven months later, the boat he named Awakin — “like a boat waking someone” — was found partially submerged off an island west of Sitka in a tragedy that left Robidou and four customers dead or lost at sea and put a spotlight on the safety of the region’s vibrant charter fishing industry.

“I can’t remember when we had any kind of fatality in our industry, so this is shocking for us,” said Richard Yamada, who sits on various industry boards, including the Alaska Charter Association and the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization. “We’re really curious to see what happened.”

Robidou, 32, was working with Kingfisher Charters, which operates a lodge in Sitka, a small port city on Baranof Island with a backdrop of a stunning volcanic mountain. The region is a legendary fishing destination, with myriad inlets, islands, bays and passages that can offer shelter from wind and waves when the open sea is too rough.

FILE - In this undated file photo the Trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station north of Fairbanks, Alaska is shown. Environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior to review climate impacts related to the decades-old trans-Alaska pipeline system. They're also asking the federal government to develop a plan for a "managed phasedown" of the 800-mile pipeline, which is Alaska's economic lifeline. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

“Sitka is nestled right along the Alaska coast, with the ocean on one side, and the Inside Passage on the other,” Kingfisher says on its website. “On days where the weather cooperates we generally head offshore into the ocean, but on days where the winds and waves make the journey less desirable we go fishing in the protected bays and passageways of the inside waters.”

Over Memorial Day weekend, eight members of the Tyau family, from Los Angeles and Hawaii, traveled to Sitka for a three-day trip with Kingfisher, where rates typically run $3,295 per person, according to prices listed on the company’s website.

The Tyau clan chartered two boats — the Awakin, captained by Robidou, and another called the Pockets — and set out Friday amid rough conditions. Michael Tyau said his sisters and wife spent the day’s voyage seasick in the two boats’ cabins and skipped Saturday’s trip to recover on land.

When Sunday dawned, their last vacation day before Monday flights home, the women rejoined the boats, which headed to different fishing spots. Aboard the Awakin were Tyau’s sisters , Brandi Tyau, 56, and Danielle Agcaoili, 53, along with Brandi’s partner, Robert Solis, 61, and Danielle’s husband, Maury Agcaoili, 57.

Michael Tyau, who was aboard the Pockets, said the conditions where that boat fished that day did not concern him. He “in no way felt in jeopardy, like this wasn’t safe for us to fish in,” he said.

It’s unclear where the Awakin went or what might have happened to it, but it was last seen near Sitka on Sunday afternoon and was found partially submerged around 7 p.m. Sunday off Low Island, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Sitka, the Coast Guard has said.

Efforts to recover the vessel have been hampered by strong winds and rough seas, including significant tidal currents that hindered the work of divers, but a salvage company was expected to try again Saturday, conditions permitting.

The sisters were found inside the cabin, and Maury Agcaoili’s body was discovered near the boat. Solis and Robidou have not been found, and the Coast Guard called off its search late Monday after covering 825 square miles (2,100 square kilometers) in more than 20 hours.

There was a small craft advisory in the area where the boat was found Sunday, warning mariners of roughly 17 mph (27 kph) winds and 10-foot (3-meter) seas with rain during the day and slightly stronger winds and similarly high seas later in the day, said Pete Boyd, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

In addition to potentially rough seas and high winds, the area features rocks that can seemingly rise even from deep water, posing hazards to boats.

Yamada speculated that Robidou apparently did not have time to make a mayday call, suggesting that a rogue wave could have suddenly flipped the boat.

Kingfisher owner Seth Bone has been in the business for at least 40 years and is well-known and reputable, Yamada said.

Kingfisher Charters has declined to respond to questions outside a statement released Wednesday saying the company is “devastated by the loss of the guests and captain of the Awakin” and is fully cooperating with an investigation it hopes “furnishes answers to the questions as to how it occurred.”

Yamada owns a lodge in Juneau, Alaska. Some businesses, like his, own all their fishing vessels, while others, like Kingfisher, contract with independent boat owners.

It takes serious effort to get a captain’s license, Yamada said, and the process involves an exam covering navigation and safety as well as 360 days of experience on the water. Because you can’t be on the water year-round in Alaska, it usually takes three summers, he said.

“It’s not as if you just come off the street and get a license,” Yamada said. “It takes some time.”

A license has to be renewed every five years.

Given the vast numbers of people who go out on charter boats in southeast Alaska every late spring to fall, the lack of prior accidents in the industry indicates it has a good safety record, said Michael Schneider, an Anchorage, Alaska, personal injury attorney who litigates fishing accidents.

That said, he added: “People need to know going in that it’s the real deal up here. The water is deep and cold and bad things can happen. And when they do, they typically happen very, very quickly.”

Robidou had been fishing for several years, according to posts and comments on his social media pages. One said he had previously captained a different boat for Kingfisher Charters. Robidou’s family did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Robidou was “the nicest, quietest, friendliest young fellow you’ve ever seen,” said Thad Poulson, editor of the Daily Sitka Sentinel newspaper, where Robidou once worked as a press operator.

Kelleher reported from Honolulu. Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles contributed.

alaska cruise ship sinking

Coast Guard checks Cruise West ships after most recent grounding in Alaska

After Spirt of Glacier Bay went aground in Southeast Alaska, the Coast Guard is checking safety and maintenance of ships run by Seattle-based Cruise West

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The Spirit of Glacier Bay cruise ship, which ran aground earlier this week in Alaska, is in Juneau for repairs, and the U.S. Coast Guard is checking ships of its owner Cruise West for safety and maintenance.

The 207-foot Spirit of Glacier Bay, run by Seattle-based Cruise West, this summer has been sailing three- and four-night cruises in Southeast Alaska, including in Glacier Bay National Park where it went aground on Monday.

The ship had 51 passengers and crew aboard. There were no injuries and a Coast Guard boat freed the ship; it then headed to Auke Bay near Juneau.

Because of previous mechanical problems and groundings the Coast Guard is inspecting Cruise West’s other ships, Capt. Scott Robert, the Coast Guard sector Juneau commander, told the Anchorage Daily News. Safety plans, equipment and maintenance policies are being examined, Robert told the newspaper. The Coast Guard also will talk to crew members about safety awareness and conditions.

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The Coast Guard said there was no breach of the external hull of the Spirit of Glacier Bay. However, the ship does have some structural damage which must be repaired before it can again carry passengers. The cause of the grounding remains under investigation.

The same ship, formerly called the Spirit of Nantucket, began taking on water in November 2007 on an Intracoastal Waterway cruise near Virginia Beach, Va, after it hit a submerged object. The captain ran it aground to prevent it from sinking.

This June, another Cruise West ship, the Spirit of Alaska, touched bottom on a Southeast Alaska cruise, damaging its rudder and cutting short a cruise. And in May, the company’s Spirit of Columbia had power and propeller problems and was diverted to Juneau. There were no injuries in either incident.

Kristin Jackson of Seattle Times Travel contributed to this report.

alaska cruise ship sinking

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alaska cruise ship sinking

Alaska implements limits on cruise ship passengers after record footfall

While many businesses benefit from tourist spending, residents are increasingly troubled by noisy helicopters, congested streets and trails, and environmental damage. To address these issues, Juneau has struck a deal with the Cruise Lines International Association in Alaska. The agreement sets daily limits of 16,000 passengers from Sundays to Fridays, and 12,000 on Saturdays read more

Alaska implements limits on cruise ship passengers after record footfall

Alaska’s capital city Juneau located on the Gastineau Channel, is taking action to manage the influx of cruise ship tourists, amid rising worries about the impact on local life.

This came also after city saw a record 1.65 million cruise passengers last year, marking a 23% increase from previous highs.

While many businesses benefit from tourist spending, residents are increasingly troubled by noisy helicopters, congested streets and trails, and environmental damage. To address these issues, Juneau has struck a deal with the Cruise Lines International Association in Alaska. The agreement sets daily limits of 16,000 passengers from Sundays to Fridays, and 12,000 on Saturdays.

Alexandra Pierce, Juneau’s tourism manager, highlighted city’s stance on managing growth within its current infrastructure limitations. She highlighted the importance of balancing economic benefits with residents’ concerns and preserving local livelihoods.

Despite this effort, longtime critic of the cruise industry, Karla Hart, remains skeptical. She fears that even with the agreed limits, the city could still see record-breaking arrivals during the 22-week cruise season. Hart is advocating for a local referendum proposing “ship-free Saturdays” to protect community quality of life.

The global cruise industry, rebounding strongly post-pandemic, continues to grow with increasingly large ships. For instance, the Icon of the Seas, launched in January, accommodates over 7,000 passengers and boasts the world’s largest onboard waterpark.

Juneau’s concerns echo those of other cities worldwide grappling with social and environmental impacts from cruise tourism. Venice has banned large cruise ships from its lagoon, while Barcelona and Amsterdam have implemented restrictions and taxes to mitigate these effects.

Hart highlighted ongoing concerns about emissions, ship strikes, and climate change attributed to cruise ship and urged further measures to safeguard Juneau’s environment and community well-being.

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Alaska's capital sets passenger limits to manage cruise tourism

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Alaska's capital, Juneau , is set to limit the number of cruise ship passengers arriving at its port due to concerns over the impact of tourism. This decision comes amidst calls for more measures to protect the quality of life for residents.

Juneau, located on the Gastineau Channel and home to 32,000 residents, saw a record 1.65 million cruise ship passengers last year, a 23% increase from the previous high. While local businesses benefit from the influx of tourist dollars, there are rising concerns about the effects of tourism, such as increased helicopter noise, crowded public spaces, and environmental damage.

In an effort to balance economic benefits with the negative effects of high visitor numbers, the city has reached an agreement with the Cruise Lines International Association in Alaska. This agreement will limit daily cruise passenger arrivals to 16,000 from Sundays to Fridays and to 12,000 on Saturdays.

Alexandra Pierce, Juneau’s tourism manager, explained that the city lacks the infrastructure to support further cruise growth and that the daily passenger limits aim to reduce congestion on the busiest days. She emphasized the importance of cruise tourism to the local and regional economies, while also acknowledging the need to address the concerns of residents and the local businesses dependent on tourism.

Despite these measures, Karla Hart, a longtime critic of the cruise industry, believes the new limits may still allow for record-breaking visitor numbers over the 22-week cruise season. She supports a local referendum proposing "ship-free Saturdays," which would prevent ships with 250+ passengers from docking in Juneau one day a week, aiming to offer tangible quality-of-life improvements for the community.

The cruise industry has seen significant growth post-pandemic, with newer ships accommodating increasingly larger numbers of passengers. For instance, the recently launched Icon of the Seas can carry 7,000+ passengers and crew.

Juneau's concerns reflect a broader trend, as other cities also grapple with the social and environmental impacts of cruise tourism. Venice banned large ships from its lagoon in 2021, while Barcelona has imposed access restrictions, and Amsterdam has introduced a day tax on cruise passengers.

Hart highlighted ongoing issues such as air and water emissions from cruise ships, ship strikes, and climate change, underscoring the need for continued scrutiny and regulation of the industry.

Watch CBS News

Alaska set to limit daily number of cruise ship passengers who can visit Juneau

By Megan Cerullo

Edited By Anne Marie Lee

Updated on: June 6, 2024 / 4:59 AM EDT / CBS News

Cruise aficionados looking to experience Alaska's capital, Juneau, may have to vie for permission to disembark and step foot on land, under a new agreement between the city and major cruise lines that sail there. 

The agreement between Juneau and Cruise Lines International Association in Alaska (CLIA), finalized last week, seeks to limit the number of daily cruise passengers who can arrive in Juneau to 16,000 on Sundays through Fridays, and to 12,000 on Saturdays, effective in 2026. 

The measure intends to limit the congestion and wear and tear tourists can cause a city. Visitors to Juneau skyrocketed to a record 1.6 million last year, after the pandemic depressed numbers for two years. Other popular cities have taken similar measures to limit tourists and their effect on daily life for residents. For example, Venice, Italy, in April became the first city in the world to charge day-trippers a fee just to enter  on peak days.

Alaska's new agreement is designed to cap levels of visitors to roughly where they are now.

"The cruise industry is vital to our local economy, and we need to improve our infrastructure and grow our tour capacity to create a great guest experience and reduce impacts on residents," Juneau Visitor Industry director Alexandra Pierce said in a statement Tuesday. "With this agreement, we are committing to a cap to manage our busiest days and to meet annually to ensure that our visitor numbers remain sustainable."

CLIA, the cruise lines association, applauded the measure, calling the agreement "a well-balanced and thoughtful approach to keeping Juneau a great place to live and visit."

"Ongoing, direct dialogue with local communities is the best way to jointly self-regulate to preserve great resident and visitor experiences while providing a predictable market for the many local businesses that rely on the cruise industry," CLIA said in part in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

In Alaska, residents have complained that record numbers of visitors contribute to bad traffic and increase noise pollution when they visit glaciers by helicopter. On the other hand, many local businesses rely on the cruise industry and the steady flow of visitors it provides, the city of Juneau acknowledged in a statement . 

Alaska Climate Tourism Tipping Point

Cruise seasons have also been extended from early April to late October, offering year-round residents little reprieve from tourists' presence.

Under a separate agreement, only five large ships are permitted a day during the current cruise season. 

Pierce said other projects in the works will also likely diminish the impact tourists have on the city. They include installing a gondola at the city's ski area, updating its downtown sea walk and expanding capacity for visitors at the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. 

City leaders are "trying to balance the needs of our residents, the needs of our economy, the needs of future opportunities for people to stay in our community," she said.

The agreement has its skeptics, though. Cruise industry critic Karla Hart says the new measure isn't sufficient to curb unsustainable levels of tourism. "It feels like we're just getting led along again, and expansion will continue and more time will pass," she said, according to the Associated Press. 

Hart is behind a local ballot proposal that would ban ships of at least 250 passengers from stopping in Juneau on Saturdays or on July 4. 

—The Associated Press contributed to this report

Megan Cerullo is a New York-based reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering small business, workplace, health care, consumer spending and personal finance topics. She regularly appears on CBS News 24/7 to discuss her reporting.

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Why the journey is the destination when it comes to Alaska cruises

alaska cruise ship sinking

They say getting there is half the fun. Usually, I disagree. When I travel, I want to get to where I’m going as quickly as possible to make the most of my time there. However, sailing Celebrity Edge on its maiden Alaska voyage from Seattle, I was all about the journey.

Staring up at the snow-capped mountains through the ship’s floor-to-ceiling windows and watching for wildlife in the icy waters below, I was mesmerized by the famed Last Frontier. And I realized that on an Alaska cruise , the journey is a destination.

Here’s why and what travelers should know about cruising Alaska.

Why is Alaska a popular cruise destination?

Alaska is a bucket-list destination for many people. Some may wait their whole lives for the trip. While Alaska Airlines and other carriers fly throughout America’s largest state , it isn’t as easy to navigate as the Lower 48.

Cruises allow travelers to visit multiple destinations without taking separate flights, renting a car or moving from hotel to hotel. My Edge itinerary included stops in Ketchikan, which is surrounded by the lush Tongass National Forest ; the state capital of Juneau, which is only accessible by air or sea; and Skagway, home of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park . The ship also carefully navigated the stunning Endicott Arm fjord toward Dawes Glacier, a highlight of the trip.

The easy trip can also be more accessible for people with mobility issues and other disabilities. Like other cruise lines, Celebrity has a team dedicated to accessible cruising . Numerous guests on board my sailing used walkers, canes or wheelchairs. Plus, it’s just nice to be able to take in the dramatic coastlines from the comfort of a cozy cabin or lounge when it’s chilly outside.

Are cruises to Alaska worth it?

They can be. At last check, the lowest price on a seven-night Celebrity Edge Alaska Dawes Glacier sailing, roundtrip from Seattle, for the remainder of this summer is listed at $778 per person on the cruise line’s website, based on double occupancy in an inside stateroom. That does not include travel to or from Seattle nor any taxes or fees, which can balloon the bottom line on any cruise. Nor does it include promotional discounts, which are pretty much always available. After taxes and fees, that works to about $2,212 for two people or $1,106 per person. 

The cheapest seven-night Southbound Glacier sailing on the Edge’s sister ship, Celebrity Summit , is much less at $249 per person, based on double occupancy in an inside stateroom. It’s worth noting the Southbound voyage goes from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia, not a round trip. Also the Summit is not an Edge-class ship , The Celebrity Edge is the first Edge class ship to sail Alaska; it was also the first ship in Celebrity’s most recent series, which also includes the new Celebrity Ascent . Edge-class ships were designed to bring guests closer than ever to their destinations, with their signature Magic Carpet cantilevered platform that extends beyond the ship’s edge and other features that bring the outside in. After taxes and fees, the Summit sailing adds up to about $1,231 for two people or about $615 a person.

Both are cheaper than flying between cities and staying at hotels for a week in Alaska, but they're also cheaper than other popular vacations. For example, seven nights at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort , a value resort at Walt Disney World , costs $955 for the room alone, including taxes and a summer promo deal. Adding seven days of park tickets, without park hopping, and the total becomes $2,195 for two people or about $1,098 per person, excluding food.

Meanwhile, cruises include all onboard meals – except optional specialty dining and alcohol. There are also a boatload of included activities, like nature talks, tai chi classes, guided arts and crafts, trivia, games and childcare. There’s live music available through the day and nightly stage shows. I sampled a little bit of everything, but for me, the best part of the ship was the views.

Inside Ascent: 3 takeaways from Celebrity Cruises' new ship

Do you see wildlife on an Alaskan cruise?

Yes. I saw whale spouts three times from the ship, though the whales didn’t breach above water. I also saw a handful of harbor seals and a dozen eagles from the ship and from shore. Bald eagles are so common in Alaska that a tour bus driver jokingly called them bald seagulls. There are 30,000 bald eagles in the state, according to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. 

I kept an eye out for bears on an excursion to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. I didn’t see any walking along the paved, wheelchair-accessible Nugget Falls Trail, but I did spot all sorts of spring buds and the most beautiful moss.

The ship’s onboard naturalist gave us a heads-up on what to look for and taught us about various species in presentations in the ship’s theater. She also broadcasted live on the ship’s TV channel and inside speakers while traveling through the Endicott Arm. However, her voice wasn’t carried on outside speakers to avoid potentially disturbing wildlife.

What is the best month to go on a cruise to Alaska?

The Alaska cruise season runs from late April to early October, though dates vary by cruise line. Guests who sail early or late in the season may find lower rates than during the height of the summer, but they may miss out on warmer weather.

It was in the 40s to 50s most days of my May sailing, and it rained on our Juneau day. The onboard naturalist warned that there is no bad weather in Alaska, only poor clothing choices.

How much should I budget for an Alaskan cruise?

You should pad your budget with several hundred extra dollars for excursions and dining off-ship. Both can be pricey but enriching. My Mendenhall Glacier excursion was just under $130, including transportation and an off-site Gold Creek Salmon Bake , with all-you-can-eat fresh salmon cooked over a wood-burning fire.  I’ve never had better fried fish than the local halibut at The Alaska Fish House in Ketchikan, and I will be dreaming of the sweet, plump red king crab at Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau for years to come.  If you want freshly caught Alaska seafood, you’ll want to get it at port.

You may be able to spot whales from the cruise ship, but if you really want to go whale watching, salmon fishing, dog sledding, or get up close to glaciers, that’s generally going to require an excursion. Excursions offered through cruise lines tend to cost more than those booked independently, but booking through the cruise line can streamline payment and ensure that the ship won’t leave without you if the excursion runs late.

One port you can enjoy on the cheap is Skagway. You can explore several exhibits and historic buildings on your own, as part of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. However many visitors splurge on a scenic train ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway up to the Canadian border and back.

Is it worth getting a balcony on a cruise?

Yes and no. The views throughout Alaska are breathtaking, and being able to enjoy them from your cabin any time of day feels luxurious. I loved waking up to mountains, thick with trees, outside my window and scanning the waters for marinelife before bed.

Just over 80% of Celebrity Edge’s staterooms have a balcony. I had an Infinite Veranda , which is unique to Edge-class ships. Rather than a traditional balcony with a sliding glass door, Infinite Verandas incorporate what would be exterior balcony space into the interior of the cabin and have a window that slides halfway down the exterior wall with the push of a button. I loved how much bigger it made the cabin feel and appreciated the extra climate-controlled living space. It was still chilly during my early season sailing, so I rarely put the window down and think I would have enjoyed a non-balcony, oceanview room just as much.

Of course, if you book an inside cabin, you can still enjoy the scenery from public areas of any ship. The Celebrity Edge brings the outside in with tons of windows, including in the buffet restaurant, Oceanview Cafe, where I spotted my first whale spout. In the back of the ship, there’s a relaxing mixed-use space called Eden with three stories of windows that I found myself drawn to daily. The solarium, with its tall windows and rows of lounge chairs, also offered expansive views. 

Do I need a passport for an Alaskan cruise?

Maybe. For a closed-loop cruise that starts and ends in the same U.S. port, like the one I was on, all you need is proof of citizenship. 

“According to U.S. Customs & Border Protection, this includes an Enhanced Driver’s License, which is a state-issued driver’s license that provides proof of identity and U.S. citizenship; a government-issued birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where the person was born) or passport; and if 16 or older, a government-issued driver’s license or picture ID denoting photo, name, and date of birth,” according to Celebrity.

Of course, not all Alaska cruises are closed-loop cruises. Some start or end in Vancouver, Canada. There are also cruises on several smaller U.S.-flagged cruise lines like Alaska Dream Cruises and Uncruise Adventures , which may not require passports depending on the itinerary.

Can you see the Northern Lights on an Alaska cruise?

It’s possible, but because daylight hours are so long during the summer in Alaska, the best chance to see them would be on a cruise late in the season.

I woke up in the middle of the night a few times to look for Northern Light. I didn’t see any, but I heard passengers on a previous sailing spotted them. Then again, so did people all across the country during the solar storm earlier this month.

The reporter on this story received access from Celebrity Cruises. USA TODAY maintains editorial control of reviews.

alaska cruise ship sinking

Refloating efforts could start this week for cruise ship Aurora sinking into Delta, officials say

S AN JOAQUIN COUNTY – Crews are now installing dewatering pumps on a decommissioned cruise ship sinking into the Delta near Stockton .

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Spill Prevention & Response division gave an update on the status of the ship Aurora on Tuesday. The old ship had been docked in Potato Slough, in the area of Empire Tract and Eight Mile Road, when it started taking on water in late May.

With the ship leaking diesel fuel and oil into the Delta, a unified response was deployed by several local agencies to contain the situation.

CDFW officials said work started over the weekend to install dewatering pumps on the Aurora.

Further, officials said efforts to refloat and remove any remaining fuel could also start this week.

A safety zone remains in place around the Aurora, officials said.

CDFW noted that they haven't seen any impacts on wildlife in the area so far. Notably, the sinking Aurora is in the same location where a tugboat sank and started leaking fuel in September 2023.

The Aurora has a storied past , with its former cruise ship days serving as an inspiration for the hit 1970s TV show "The Love Boat." It also appeared in the 1963 James Bond film "From Russia With Love."

The Aurora has been moored near Stockton for some time now, but it's unclear exactly how long. 

Refloating efforts could start this week for cruise ship Aurora sinking into Delta, officials say

IMAGES

  1. Pictured: The cruise liner that ran aground off Alaska

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  2. Alaskan cruise ship rescued after running aground

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  3. USA: ALASKA: 90 RESCUED FROM SINKING CRUISE SHIP

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  4. Norwegian cruise ship that hit an iceberg arrives to Seattle, WA

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  5. 46 crew members rescued from sinking ship in Alaska waters

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  6. Shocking footage shows cruise ship crash into iceberg in Alaska

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VIDEO

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  3. Alaska Airlines investigation

  4. Cruise to Alaska

  5. I Went On A Cruise To ALASKA! Part 1!

  6. TOUR BOAT SINKS, CRUISE SHIP OVERSOLD, CRUISE NEWS

COMMENTS

  1. MS Prinsendam (1972)

    MS. Prinsendam. (1972) MS Prinsendam, was a Holland-America Line cruise ship built at Shipyard de Merwede in the Netherlands in 1973. She was 427 feet (130 m) long and typically carried about 350 passengers and 200 crew members.

  2. The Long Blue Line: Prinsendam—Coast Guard's "Miracle Rescue" over 40

    The fire spread through the ship, blowing out portholes and exploding what life rafts or boats remained. Each day, the ship rode lo wer and lower in the water. By Oct. 10, A and B decks were submerged and the promenade deck was taking on water. One week after the rescue began, the $25 million ship rolled on its side. Within three minutes, it sank.

  3. The Sinking of the Prinsendam

    The Prinsendam was a 427-foot-long cruise liner built in 1973 at Shipyard de Merwede in the Netherlands. The liner was transiting through Gulf of Alaska waters, approximately 120 miles south of Yakutat, Alaska, at midnight on October 4, 1980, when fire broke out in the engine room. The vessel's master declared the fire out of control one hour ...

  4. Smoke on the Water: The Sinking of the Prinsendam

    On October 4th, 1980 the luxury cruise liner Prinsendam caught fire in the Gulf of Alaska, between Yakutat and Sitka. Despite an incoming typhoon, 30-foot seas, and 100-meter visibility, every one of the more than 500 passengers and crew escaped before the ship burned and sank. Rich McClear brings you an hour-long look at that fateful day. The ...

  5. 35th Anniversary of the Prinsendam, Part 1: The Rescue

    October 4th marked the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Prinsendam. The cruise ship was abandoned 200 miles off the coast of Alaska due to fire. Over 500 passengers and crew were rescued. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Library) It's been called the greatest high seas rescue in the history of the Coast Guard. 35 years ago on October ...

  6. 35th Anniversary of the Prinsendam, Part 1: The Rescue

    October 4th marked the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Prinsendam. The cruise ship was abandoned 200 miles off the coast of Alaska due to fire. Over 500 passengers and crew were rescued.

  7. Rescuers recall Prinsendam fire following 41st anniversary

    On Oct. 4, 1980, the Prinsendam, a Holland America Line cruise ship, caught fire in the engine room, requiring the more than 500 passengers and crew to abandon ship. The Prinsendam was due to ...

  8. Passengers and crew evacuated from small cruise ship in Alaska's

    Nearly 70 people were evacuated from a small cruise ship in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park after a fire Monday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said. There were no reports of injuries.

  9. The Prinsendam's unsung heroes

    The Prinsendam's unsung heroes. Accounts of the burning and sinking of the Holland America cruise ship Prinsendam in the Gulf of Alaska in the fall of 1980 all mention the risks, hardships, and ...

  10. Prinsendam's Sinking in 1980 Led to One of History's Greatest Maritime

    The ship offers "boutique" cruises to more out of the way tourism destinations such as the Black Sea, South America and Antarctica. The Captain of the ill-fated Prinsendam, Cornelius Wabeke, had been a ship master for Holland America for 30 years and was one of the most experienced captains in the fleet.

  11. ALASKA CRUISE SHIP DISASTER: The Prinsendam

    May 25, 2016 Tara Neilson ALASKA CRUISE SHIP DISASTER: The Prinsendam 0. On October 4, 1980, the aurora borealis danced above the stricken cruise ship as the elderly passengers crawled out of bed and made their way to the upper deck after the captain announced that there was a fire in the engine room. Almost everyone aboard, in the inhospitable ...

  12. A Cruise Ship Goes Down

    A Cruise Ship Goes Down Sinking of the Prinsendam in 1980 led to One of history's greatest maritime rescues By DAVE KIFFER October 10, 2015 Saturday AM. Ketchikan, Alaska - At the beginning of most cruise ship sailings, the passengers gather for a safety lecture. It's not really a drill because they don't get into lifeboats or rafts that are ...

  13. Search for Prinsendam: Seascape Alaska 5: Gulf of Alaska Remotely

    Search for Prinsendam. During the Seascape Alaska 5: Gulf of Alaska Remotely Operated Vehicle Exploration and Mapping expedition, the team will search for, and if found, explore the wreck of Prinsendam, a 427-foot cruise liner that sank off Sitka, Alaska, in 1980 after the second greatest rescue operation in the history of the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

  14. 1 dead, 4 missing after charter boat sinks off coast of Alaska

    May 30, 2023, 2:12 AM PDT / Updated May 30, 2023, 12:28 PM PDT. By Chantal Da Silva. The Coast Guard has suspended its search for survivors after a charter boat sank off Alaska on Sunday, leaving ...

  15. Flashback in history: MS Prinsendam fire and sinking 4 October 1980

    6230. The cruise ship Prinsendam was built in 1973 for Holland America Line. It was somewhat smaller than average size for its day, carrying about 350 passengers and 200 crew. Just after midnight on 4 October 1980, a fire broke out in the engineroom as the ship was transiting the Gulf of Alaska. Shortly thereafter, the master sent a message to ...

  16. Search suspended for 4 people missing after Alaskan charter boat sinks

    The five people aboard the boat were last seen Sunday afternoon. Sitka, Alaska. The Coast Guard suspended its search late Monday for four missing people after a charter fishing boat sank off the ...

  17. Cruise ship sinking near Juneau, Alaska

    The 281 people aboard were climbing into lifeboats after the U.S.-flagged cruise ship hit a reef approximately 50 nautical miles (57 miles) from Alaska's capital of Juneau near Icy Strait and Chatham Strait. The rescue effort began in the pre-dawn hours Monday. A tug and barge with a capacity of 200 people was already on the scene, said Coast ...

  18. Coast Guard Suspends Search After Charter Boat Sinks Off Alaska

    The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for survivors after a charter boat sank off the coast of Alaska on Sunday, leaving one person dead and four others missing. The search began after ...

  19. Cruise Ships Aren't Ready for Instant Tsunamis

    In 2015, 76 million cubic meters of rock crashed from the rugged cliffs above a southeastern Alaska fjord and into the water below. The landslide sparked a nearly 200-meter-tall wave that roared ...

  20. Tragedy that left 5 dead or missing puts spotlight on safety in Alaska

    Charter fishing industry experts in southeast Alaska say they're eager to learn the cause of a tragedy that left five people dead or lost at sea. A boat called the Awakin was found partially submerged off an island about 10 miles west of Sitka last Sunday. Efforts to recover the vessel have been hampered by rough seas. A salvage company is hoping to try again Saturday. Richard Yamada from the ...

  21. Coast Guard checks Cruise West ships after most recent grounding in Alaska

    The captain ran it aground to prevent it from sinking. This June, another Cruise West ship, the Spirit of Alaska, touched bottom on a Southeast Alaska cruise, damaging its rudder and cutting short ...

  22. Coast Guard suspends search for remaining victims of charter ...

    The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for four missing people who were last seen boating near Sitka on Sunday afternoon (5-28-23). According to a Coast Guard press release, on Sunday evening Kingfisher Charters reported an overdue charter vessel with five people on board. The boat had last been seen underway near Cape Edgecumbe in Sitka Sound.

  23. Alaska implements limits on cruise ship passengers after record

    Alaska's capital city Juneau located on the Gastineau Channel, is taking action to manage the influx of cruise ship tourists, amid rising worries about the impact on local life. This came also after city saw a record 1.65 million cruise passengers last year, marking a 23% increase from previous highs.

  24. Princess Cruises Alaska Sailing Impacted By Propulsion Problems

    However, because the 2,670-guest ship arrived in Vancouver several hours later than planned and repairs needed to be made, her first Alaska cruise of 2024 was delayed.

  25. Alaska's capital sets passenger limits to manage cruise tourism

    Alaska's capital, Juneau, is set to limit the number of cruise ship passengers arriving at its port due to concerns over the impact of tourism.This decision comes amidst calls for more measures to protect the quality of life for residents. Juneau, located on the Gastineau Channel and home to 32,000 residents, saw a record 1.65 million cruise ship passengers last year, a 23% increase from the ...

  26. Alaska set to limit daily number of cruise ship passengers who can

    The agreement between Juneau and Cruise Lines International Association in Alaska (CLIA), finalized last week, seeks to limit the number of daily cruise passengers who can arrive in Juneau to ...

  27. Coast Guard Works to Refloat Sinking Cruise Ship in California

    The U.S. Coast Guard sprang into action after a retired cruise ship began sinking at her dock in Little Potato Slough, a river northwest of Stockton, California. Aurora, a non-operational 300-foot ...

  28. Why Are Cruise Stocks Down Today?

    These cruise stocks look like they're sinking in today's session June 14, 2024 By Chris MacDonald , InvestorPlace Contributor Jun 14, 2024, 3:17 pm EDT June 14, 2024 Advertisement

  29. Alaska cruises make exploring the Last Frontier easy: Here's a guide

    After taxes and fees, that works to about $2,212 for two people or $1,106 per person. The cheapest seven-night Southbound Glacier sailing on the Edge's sister ship, Celebrity Summit, is much ...

  30. Refloating efforts could start this week for cruise ship Aurora sinking

    The Aurora has a storied past, with its former cruise ship days serving as an inspiration for the hit 1970s TV show "The Love Boat." It also appeared in the 1963 James Bond film "From Russia With ...