Alaska cruise passengers evacuated after engine room fire

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – UnCruise Adventures has confirmed a fire aboard one of its tour boats that was contained to the engine room while the vessel was in Glacier Bay National Park. The incident occurred at 7:23 a.m. Monday while 78 passengers and crew were on board.

“We are relieved to confirm that there have been no injuries resulting from the fire. Our highly trained crew promptly extinguished the fire using established emergency protocols, and CO2 was successfully deployed for everyone’s safety,” said Capt. Dan Blanchard, company owner and CEO.

UnCruise Adventures file photo

The company said local and federal authorities were promptly notified, and “we are working closely with them to ensure a coordinated response in the area.” There are currently no discernible environmental impacts within the affected area, UnCruise said.

The U.S. Coast Guard received a call for assistance from the 178-foot Wilderness Discoverer shortly before 7:30 a.m. and dispatched the cutters Pike and Anthony Petit, along with a Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka. The National Park Service also reportedly responded to the call.

Additional vessels in the area immediately assisted with disembarking 51 passengers and 16 crew from Wilderness Discoverer, with 11 crew remaining on board. The cruise line said it will be providing full refunds to all passengers affected by the incident and providing hotels and flights home for those affected.

The cause of the engine room fire has not been determined, and an investigation is currently underway to determine the cause, UnCruise said. “We will actively cooperate with the authorities and conduct a thorough assessment,” the company stated.

UnCruise said it was extending its gratitude “to the swift response of emergency personnel and (it) acknowledges the professionalism and composure demonstrated by our crew throughout this challenging situation.”

– UnCruise Adventures

By Rich Miller