CANTON (KT) – The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies are continuing efforts to free a cruise ship stuck on a sandbar in the Cumberland River near Lake Barkley since last week.
The American Jazz, a small cruise ship owned by American Cruise Lines, was en route from Memphis to Nashville when it ran aground on Wednesday July 7 near the community of Canton in Trigg County with 120 passengers and 54 members. crew on board.
The US Coast Guard said it received a call Thursday morning from American Cruise Lines advising them of the incident. The Paducah Coast Guard station dispatched a crew of 29-foot special boats and a marine investigator to the scene.
Officials then established a unified command, made up of representatives from the Coast Guard, the State of Kentucky, Trigg County, and American Cruise Lines, to oversee the disembarkation of passengers from the cruise ship and work on a plan. safety.
The 120 passengers were safely transferred ashore by pontoon boats, along with six crew members, and were taken to Nashville by bus. 48 crew members remained on board. No medical problems have been reported.
“The Coast Guard worked with local government and industry partners to safely disembark the passengers and crew of the American Jazz,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Andrew, Commander, Coast Guard Maritime Security Unit, Paducah. “The unified command will remain in place until the ship is safely afloat.”
The Coast Guard also established a three-mile safety zone on the Cumberland River near the vessel’s grounding to ensure the safety of response teams and the public and to keep boaters away from the scene.
“American Cruise Lines is actively engaged in the American Jazz bailout plan and works with the Coast Guard as well as its own team of marine engineers and naval architects,” said Alexa Paolella, relationship manager. public at American Cruise Lines.
“American Cruise Lines also contracted with marine salvage experts Donjon-SMIT to refloat the riverboat,” she continued. “All the mechanical systems on board are fully operational and the vessel has not suffered any damage. There were no safety issues, no injuries, and no pollution or environmental issues. The cause of the incident is still under investigation and to this day American Jazz continues to rest on the soft and muddy bottom of the lake.
Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command on Sunday approved dive operations to assess the seabed for future rescue operations, and WKDZ radio in Cadiz said efforts to free the vessel from the mud could begin soon.
“Reports from an owner near Heron Point indicate that a boat with a water jet is on its way to where the boat is housed,” the station reported. “The jet of water will sweep away the mud, which will hopefully allow the ship to move across the mudflat and continue its journey to Nashville.”
This boat was due to arrive on Monday.