Princess Cruise Ship Rescues 67 People From Stricken Vessel

A Princess cruise ship came to the rescue as a small expedition vessel experienced an emergency onboard during a cruise in Glacier Bay, Alaska.

In a remarkable act of maritime solidarity, the Sapphire Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, rescued 51 passengers and 16 crew members from a distressed expedition ship in Glacier Bay, Alaska, following an engine room fire.

The incident occurred early in the morning of June 5 while the Sapphire Princess was en route to Glacier Bay. No guests or crew were injured during the incident.

Swift Response to a Distress Call

The Princess Cruises Gem-class cruise ship Sapphire Princess was alerted by the US Coast Guard to assist the Wilderness Discoverer, a small vessel from Adventure Smith Explorations. 

The expedition ship had become disabled in Glacier Bay following an engine room fire. Responding promptly, Sapphire Princess dispatched a water shuttle to transfer all 67 individuals from the Wilderness Discoverer to the Princess ship.

Sapphire Princess Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: ODEGOVA / Shutterstock

“Sapphire Princess dispatched a water shuttle to transfer all 51 of the passengers and 16 crew from the Wilderness Discoverer to the Princess ship. We are pleased to report there are no injuries and that our crew aboard Sapphire Princess are feeding and taking great care of these passengers.” said a press release from Princess Cruises.

The cruise line is working closely with the US Coast Guard and local authorities to support these passengers in their forward travel. 

“Princess Cruises continues to work with the US Coast Guard and local authorities to support these passengers in their forward travel,” the release added.

The successful rescue operation shows the effectiveness of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, which mandate that ships near a distress signal must provide assistance. The crew of the Sapphire Princess, led by Captain Todd McBain, provided a swift and effective response.

“We are proud to have been able to render assistance and would like to take this opportunity to thank the crew of Sapphire Princess led by our Captain Todd McBain as well as our colleagues with the U.S. Coast Guard on this positive outcome.” the representative from Princess Cruises said.

Wilderness Discoverer

UnCruise Adventures, the company that operates the Wilderness Discoverer, confirmed the fire incident in a statement. The Wilderness Discoverer was in Glacier Bay National Park at the time of the incident.

“We are relieved to confirm that there have been no injuries resulting from the fire. Our highly trained crew promptly extinguished the fire using established emergency protocols, and CO2 was successfully deployed for everyone’s safety,” shared company Owner & CEO, Captain Dan Blanchard. 

Wilderness Discoverer
Wilderness Discoverer

The cause of the engine room fire is yet to be determined, and an investigation is currently underway. Ten crew members remain onboard. 

UnCruise Adventures has assured that every effort is being made to minimize any inconvenience caused by the incident, including providing full refunds to all passengers affected and arranging hotels and flights home. 

“Our commitment to our guests’ satisfaction remains unwavering, and our crew is working with guests and authorities to ensure expedited care,” Captain Blanchard said.

Despite the unexpected event, the Sapphire Princess continues its 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska itinerary that departed from Vancouver on May 31. The ship is expected to maintain its schedule, arriving in Whittier, Alaska, on June 7. 

The ship will continue sailing to Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan in Alaska, returning to Vancouver on June 14. 


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