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Westerdam strikes ice, but will continue schedule

Sea Lion also OK after collision with rock near Ketchikan

Posted: May 12, 2011 - 8:28pm

Holland America’s cruise ship Westerdam sustained non-critical hull damage after striking ice near Yakutat Bay on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard is investigating the incident.

Sector Juneau’s public affairs officer Lt. j.g. James Dooley said the hull was mildly indented about 15 feet below the waterline while maneuvering through ice during high winds while sailing near Hubbard Glacier. He said the investigation will help determine how visible the ice it hit was.

There was no reported hull breach and so the ship proceeded to its Sitka destination where it was met by investigators.

“They reported the incident and what was happening on scene, so the Coast Guard here in Juneau coordinated and decided there wasn’t a reason to prevent them from moving on to Sitka,” Dooley said.

He said the next move was for divers to conduct an underwater inspection in Ketchikan Thursday.

He said there were no injuries or pollution reported.

Holland America’s spokesman Erik Elvejord said there was no damage that would impede the cruise line’s schedule. He said the Westerdam will continue its sailing schedule for the rest of the season as planned. The Westerdam docked in Juneau for the first time this season Monday. It is scheduled to make weekly stops here every Monday until Sept. 19.

Elvejord said it’s still being determined when the damage will be repaired, but it will most likely be during the ship’s next dry dock.

Elvejord and Dooley also said the Westerdam will be inspected by the classification society Lloyd’s of London. Elvejord said this party reviews all plans and final construction toward a ship’s seaworthiness.

“Obviously when the Coast Guard does anything independently, they review those records as well,” he said.

The 936-foot vessel is among Holland America’s largest cruise ships. It has the capacity to carry 1,916 passengers and 800 crew members.

The Associated Press reports another cruise vessel recently took damage in Southeast Alaska waters. Allen Marine Tours’ Sea Lion Express hit a submerged rock in Ketchikan’s Carroll Inlet late Tuesday morning. The Coast Guard inspected the 64-foot vessel then cleared it to return to duty.

None of the five passengers on board were tourists. There were no reported injuries or pollution. The Sea Lion made its first appearance of the season in Juneau Saturday. It is scheduled to return May 21, then every other Saturday until Aug. 27. It can carry 105 passengers and crew members.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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