Cruise ship heads for repairs in Ketchikan

Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A small cruise ship that hit a charted rock in Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage last week is headed to Ketchikan for repairs.

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The Empress of the North left Juneau Sunday evening accompanied by two tugboats. The 360-foot riverboat style ship was expected to arrive at Ketchikan's shipyard, Alaska Ship and Dry Dock Inc., by this morning.

The ship underwent temporary repairs in Juneau before it was given U.S. Coast Guard approval for the approximately 280 mile voyage south.

An inspection will determine if the final repairs can be made in Ketchikan or if the vessel will need to proceed to the Lower 48 to finish the work.

The ship ran aground May 7 about 45 nautical miles, or 25 miles as the crow flies, from Juneau forcing the evacuation of 206 passengers and a portion of the 75 member crew.

The impact ripped several holes in the ship's hull.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard are investigating.

The ship, built in 2003, is owned by Majestic America Line. Company officials could not say when the ship would be back in service.

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