Passengers evacuated after fire on Expedition cruise ship in Alaska

fire and evacuation
The largest cruise ship offer alongside the Wilderness Discoverer to evacuate passengers and crew (Princess Cruises)

Posted on June 5th, 2023 at 20:42 by

The Maritime Executive

The US Coast Guard reports that 67 people were safely evacuated from a small expedition cruise ship this morning, June 5, in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park after the cruise ship reported a fire in the living room. of machines. The Wilderness Discoverer cruise ship, a US-flagged 99-gross-ton vessel operated by UnCruise Adventures, had entered the park and was transiting the main channel on the west arm of Glacier Bay, an area that receives regular ship visits.

The firm alarm was reported shortly before 7:30 a.m. local time and the US Coast Guard station reported receiving a distress call from the 178-foot cruise ship. coast guard cutters Pike and anthony petit were dispatched and a Jayhawk helicopter crew was dispatched from the Air Station in Sitka, Alaska as well. The National Park Service also responded to the call for assistance.

“We are relieved to confirm that there have been no injuries as a result of the fire,” said Capt. Dan Blanchard, owner and CEO of UnCruise Adventures. “Our highly trained crew quickly extinguished the fire using established emergency protocols and the CO2 was successfully deployed for everyone’s safety.”

While the cause of the fire is officially listed as unknown and under investigation, Blanchard speculated to the Anchorage Daily News that it had been a generator fire. However, the cruiser was disabled by fire. Fortunately, she was in the calm, sheltered waters of Glacier Bay with the USCG reporting 5-mile visibility, 15-mph winds, and 3-foot seas.

The decision was made to evacuate the 51 passengers of the cruise, as well as 16 crew members. Another much bigger cruise ship, Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess (115,875 gross tons) was in the vicinity and came to the aid of the disabled vessel. The images show the passengers of the desert discoverer being evacuated to one of the Princess cruise dinghy dinghy and transferred to the larger ship. UnCruise reports that the passengers were to be transferred from the cruise to hotels in Juneau.

“Our primary concern was ensuring the safety of the passengers and crew,” said Lt. jg Maximilian Carfagno, command duty officer at the USCG Sector Juneau command center. “The rapid start-up of our assets and the teamwork between the Sapphire Princess helped in the timing of this rescue.”

The Coast Guard reports that eleven crew members remained on board the desert discoverer. They were awaiting the arrival of the tug Taku Wind, which will tow the vessel to Ketchikan.