Grounded riverboat American Jazz freed in Kentucky

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(CADIZ, Ky.) — The Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command freed the grounded riverboat American Jazz on Friday from Lake Barkley in Cadiz.

At 3:22 p.m., salvage crews and the riverboat crew were able to free the vessel by using a combination of a tug and barge setup along with the ship’s propulsion.

“Thanks to the amazing support of American Cruise Lines, the state of Kentucky, Trigg County Emergency Management, Donjon-SMIT and the residents of Trigg County, the American Jazz was removed today and was found fit for service on the Cumberland River,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Andrew, federal on-scene coordinator for the unified command.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Click here to view a time-lapse video of the operation.


(CADIZ, Ky.) — The Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command is scheduled to begin salvage operations Friday to refloat the grounded riverboat American Jazz in Lake Barkley.

A safety zone established by the unified command remains in effect from mile marker 61.5 to mile marker 63.5 on the Cumberland River as crews work to free the vessel.

“In order to ensure the safety of both responders and the public, boaters are not permitted to transit within 100 yards of the vessel and salvage operations area during salvage operations,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Andrew, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Paducah. “Mariners are encouraged to monitor VHF-FM radio Channel 16 for updated information.”

Mariners with questions about the safety zone, or to request transit through zone, should contact the Coast Guard via VHF marine radio Channel 74 or by phone at (270) 331-8290.


(CADIZ, Ky.) — The Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command approved dive operations on Sunday (July 11) to assess the bed of the Cumberland River for salvage operations to refloat the cruise ship American Jazz, which grounded in Cadiz on Wednesday.

Vessel operator American Cruise Lines activated its salvage and marine firefighting agreement with Donjon-SMIT.

The unified command continues to work with American Cruise Lines in the planning process to safely and efficiently refloat American Jazz while taking precautions to mitigate any environmental impact.

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U.S. Coast Guard photo

“American Cruise Lines has contracted with marine recovery experts Donjon-SMIT to refloat the riverboat,” said Alexa Paolella, public relations manager with American Cruise Lines. “American Cruise Lines is actively engaged in the refloat plan for the American Jazz and is working together with the Coast Guard as well as its own team of marine engineers and naval architects.”

The 3-mile safety zone from mile marker 61 to 64 is still in place to ensure the safety of response crews and the public.

“We want to remind the recreational boating public to adhere to our safety zone set in place from mile marker 61 to mile marker 64 and to keep a safe distance from the vessel,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Andrew, federal on scene coordinator for the Lake Barkley grounding incident.

It was initially reported there were 54 crewmembers on the vessel when it grounded, but the correct number was 49. Eight were transferred off with the 120 passengers, leaving 41 crewmembers aboard Thursday.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Professional Mariner Staff