Mechanical woes stall Statendam

Cruise ship towed to Vancouver

Posted: Monday, August 05, 2002

A power failure delayed the Holland America cruise ship Statendam at least a day and may cause it to skip several port calls this week, including Juneau.

The 1,368-passenger ship originally was scheduled to dock in Juneau on Wednesday.

"What we're doing right now is developing different itineraries based on different departure times," Rose Abello, spokeswoman for Holland America in Seattle, said today. "At this time we haven't determined when she'll sail or where she'll sail."

The Statendam left Vancouver at 5:30 p.m. Sunday for a seven-day cruise up the Inside Passage to Seward. About 7:30 p.m. one of the ship's five diesel generators malfunctioned, causing a breaker panel to overheat and shutting down all but one of the ship's generators, Abello said.

The ship, carrying 1,368 passengers and 563 crew, went adrift in the Strait of Georgia, 25 miles north of Vancouver. The lights stayed on, but the air conditioning system and elevators were turned off to save electricity, Abello said.

The U.S. Coast Guard got word from the Canadian Coast Guard's rescue center in Victoria that the ship was in trouble around 9 p.m., said Lt. Chris German of the U.S. Coast Guard's Seattle office. The problems with the 10-year-old ship's generators had fouled up its navigation and propulsion systems, German said. Five tug boats towed the 720-foot vessel back to Vancouver, where it arrived early this morning.

"They will probably need to alter their itinerary because the ship is still in Vancouver, but we think they may end up bypassing Ketchikan," said Linda Huston, Southeast Alaska regional manager for Holland America. "We definitely have everybody on standby."

The impact is greater because it is the second Holland America ship to cancel this week. The Ryndam stayed in port Thursday because of virus-like illnesses that sickened more than 400 people on its last two cruises.

"It certainly makes a difference to the folks who are counting on that business," said Lorene Kappler, president and CEO for the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Every ship matters and every passenger matters."

According to a 1999 McDowell group report, cruise passengers spend an average of $125 each in Juneau.

Ketchikan merchants near where the Statendam was due to dock are disappointed, said Arien Crockett, administrative assistant at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau.

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