Cruise ship with 120 passengers aboard runs aground near an island in the Detroit River

The U.S. Coast Guard is trying to determine why a 257-foot cruise ship ran aground in the Detroit River.

Yorktown, which was bound for Cleveland with 120 passengers, became stuck at about 2000 on Aug. 25 near Fighting Island, according to the Coast Guard. The accident occurred near the town of Wyandotte, about 15 miles south of Detroit.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read, a spokesman with the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, said the accident remains under investigation. He declined to make the investigating officer available for an interview and did not offer a preliminary cause of the grounding.

Conditions were clear on the night of the accident, with winds from the north at about 10 knots, according to Coast Guard data. Information on the river’s current at that time was not available.

Read was unable to say whether the vessel — which has an eight-foot draft — was outside the channel when it became stuck on the sandy river bottom. He also was unable to give the exact location of the accident.

Nobody was hurt in the grounding, and there was no environmental damage.

Yorktown is operated by Great Lakes Cruise Co., which is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. The vessel operates several itineraries in the Great Lakes and in Canada during the summer months. It also cruises along the Eastern Seaboard and in Central America during the fall and winter months, according to the company website.

Sarah Caruana, a spokeswoman for Great Lakes Cruise Co., referred questions about the grounding to the vessel’s owner, Travel Dynamics International.

“As the tour operation, we are a partner with them, and we sell cabins aboard the ship, but we don’t have any insight into operations or information about how things were handled,” she said.

Diana Ditto, marketing manager for Travel Dynamics International, said the company declined to comment until a final report has been released.

Read said Yorktown was freed with help from a tugboat. The vessel then returned to a dock near Renaissance Center, in downtown Detroit, where passengers were offloaded and the vessel was inspected, he said.

Yorktown was ultimately cleared to continue its voyage at about 0300 on Aug. 26.

By Professional Mariner Staff