Tour boat strikes rock near Haines

The Fjordland suffered 2-inch-by-2-foot gash in its hull on Monday

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002

The Coast Guard today is investigating why a tour boat struck a charted rock about 14 miles south of Haines on Monday night.

No one was hurt or evacuated in the incident, in which the Coast Guard helped pump out the 64-foot Fjordland.

The tour boat docked safely in Haines by 9 p.m., the Coast Guard said.

The Fjordland, a catamaran owned by Haines-based company Alaska Fjordlines, was traveling from Juneau to Haines and Skagway when its crew radioed the Coast Guard at 7:45 p.m. that it was taking on water.

Forty-five people were on board when the boat struck Eldred Rock, said Petty Officer Chris Grisafe of the Coast Guard.

The crew of the tour boat controlled the flooding, which stemmed from a 2-inch-by-2-foot gash in the hull, until the Coast Guard cutter Maple, stationed in Haines, arrived about 15 minutes later with two more pumps, the Coast Guard said.

The state ferry Malaspina and the cruise ship Spirit of '98 were standing by to remove passengers, which proved to be unnecessary.

The cause of the collision is still unknown. Lt. Tyrone Jones, an investigator with the Coast Guard in Juneau, said he would fly to Haines this morning to meet with Capt. Gary Jacobson of the Fjordland.

The Coast Guard said that all members of the Fjordland's crew would be given mandatory drug and alcohol tests, a routine procedure in the case of maritime incidents.

Alaska Fjordlines couldn't be reached for comment by the Empire's midday deadline.

The Coast Guard is pleased with the rescue effort, Grisafe said.

"It's really a team effort and it's just another great example of mariners helping mariners," he said. "That's important, because things can go south out there and it's cold water, so it's comforting to know that people are around to help prevent it from becoming a tragedy."

Genevieve Gagne-Hawes can be reached at geneviev@juneauempire.com.



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