Guests aboard Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess continue to wait as the ship remains docked in San Francisco, California. The unexpected overnight stay is due to the collision with Pier 27 early on July 6, 2023.
Maintenance crews, the US Coast Guard, and other officials are working on inspections and assessments of the damage. At the same time, Princess Cruises has yet to confirm a departure for its 10-day Alaska cruise onboard the stricken vessel.
Damage Assessment and Repair Work Continues
Guests who boarded Ruby Princess on July 6 for a 10-day Alaska cruise from San Francisco were treated to an unexpected, and likely unwelcome, overnight stay in the San Francisco port.
Ruby Princess, returning from a 10-night Alaskan cruise, crashed into the pier at the James R. Herman cruise terminal at around 06:05 AM, leaving visible and significant damage to the hull plates above the waterline at the aft portside corner.
Princess Cruises, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and its maintenance and engineering team, continues to inspect and assess the ship to determine the extent of the damage and necessary repairs. The question is whether the damage is structural or superficial.
Princess Cruises issued a statement to ABC 7 News on July 6: “Princess Cruises is in continued discussions with the U.S. Coast Guard regarding clearance for Ruby Princess to depart San Francisco, but a departure timeframe has not yet been confirmed. The safety of our guests and crew remains our top priority, and Ruby Princess will depart once the ship is deemed by U.S. Coast as fit to sail.”
While Ruby Princess is being assessed, the ship’s departure time for the next scheduled cruise remains uncertain. In the earlier statement from Princess Cruises, the cruise line was hopeful that the vessel would be able to leave late last night, July 6.
The cruise line’s technical experts and shoreside team will remain working on this situation, and the ship will set sail from San Francisco should clearance to depart be received at any time tonight. Additional updates regarding the ship’s status and revised itinerary will be provided in the morning. Princess will also be providing a goodwill gesture of compensation once the full effect of the necessary changes is known.
At the time of the incident, the vessel had 3,328 guests and 1,159 crew members on board. New guests boarded the ship on Thursday around 11:30 AM and are now waiting to set sail on their planned 10-night Alaskan cruise. The 113,561 gross tons Ruby Princess is due to arrive in Sitka, Alaska, on July 9, a date that is becoming more and more uncertain.
Investigation into the Incident
The investigation into the collision is currently underway, with the ship’s pilot under scrutiny. Bar pilots are experienced captains who board cruise/cargo ships and tankers to guide them through the bay’s sandbars and into the port. The pilot of Ruby Princess is being drug and alcohol tested, a standard procedure in serious marine incidents.
Preliminary reports suggest that the docking was attempted at the maximum recommended current, which could have made the maneuver particularly challenging. The U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies are carrying out the investigation.
“The Coast Guard has sent two teams, an investigations team and an inspection port state control team to the vessel and will be conducting those inspections and investigations,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander William Williams.
As the Ruby Princess awaits departure clearance, Cruise Hive will keep you informed of any updates regarding the ship’s status and revised itinerary.