Cruise ship, salmon seiner collide in Alaska

A collision between the 257-foot cruise ship Spirit of Yorktown and Adirondack, a 58-foot salmon seiner, in southeast Alaska left the fishing vessel unable to maneuver.

The accident occurred on June 25 at about 0100 in Chatham Strait on the southeastern end of Catherine Island in southeast Alaska, about 15 miles south of Angoon. Adirondack was heading north at about 8 knots, but the speed and direction of the cruise ship are uncertain.

Shortly after the collision, Spirit of Yorktown called the Coast Guard and sent one of its small boats over to Adirondack to see if the crew required assistance. The collision did not damage the cruise ship.

There was no breach in the fishing vessel’s hull. However, the top of the pilothouse was crushed, its starboard side was damaged, and it lost steering.

According to Alan Jacklin, captain and owner of Adirondack, his vessel was heading north to a waypoint and the cruise ship was heading south.

“We were about a quarter of a mile off the beach. I was not on watch, but my crew told me that the cruise ship continued to head toward them. If we went toward the beach, we would have hit the rocks,” he said.

Jacklin said that his crew had no choice but to turn to port, crossing beneath the bow of the cruise ship. Jacklin said the cruise ship did not call on channel 16, nor did it sound its horn. He said Adirondack rolled on its side, then righted itself.

Guardian, a nearby fishing vessel, took Adirondack and its four crew in tow to Sitka. Spirit of Yorktown and its 138 passengers proceeded to Petersburg under its own power.

Jerrol Golden, a spokeswoman for Seattle-based Cruise West Inc., owners of Spirit of Yorktown, said that at the time of the accident weather conditions were good.

This is the second accident involving Spirit of Yorktown. In 2006 the vessel ran aground in Washington State. In that incident the company was not cited for any wrongdoing. The collision between Spirit of Yorktown and Adirondack did not result in any injuries or pollution.     •

By Professional Mariner Staff