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Monday 5 August 2013

HAL's Statendam rescues stranded passengers in Alaska

file image of vessel Baranof Wind
source: eGlobal Travel Media

Holland America Line’s ms Statendam has picked up 103 people from a sightseeing boat wallowing without power in frigid seas near an Alaskan glacier. Another Holland America Line cruise liner rescued passengers from the same sightseeing boat a year ago.

While leaving from Margerie Glacier to depart Glacier Bay on Friday, Statendam received a call for assistance from the 24-metre sightseeing vessel Baranof Wind. Mechanical troubles had cut all power on the Baranof Wind in the ice near John Hopkins Glacier.

Statendam lowered two tenders, which collected 102 tourists and one Glacier Bay National Park ranger, bringing them back to the ship, a company statement said. A Glacier Bay National Park ranger aboard Statendam helped coordinate the assistance from the ship’s bridge.

The sightseers were taken in the evening to Bartlett Cove, where the Baranof Wind’s excursion originated. Statendam then sailed for Seward, Alaska, where it is expected to arrive on schedule today.

“Statendam’s Captain Jochem Bakker and his crew responded quickly and professionally to assist the passengers of Baranof Wind,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “We are proud of our officers and crew.”

Almost exactly a year ago, Baranof Wind, described as a high-speed catamaran, ran aground in Glacier Bay with 72 passengers aboard. It was on a day-time sightseeing trip that time, when it struck a rock, a report said.

On that occasion, Holland America Line’s ms Volendam was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Crew helped transfer passengers from the Baranof Wind to the Volendam, taking them to Bartlett Cove where they were transferred to Juneau by another vessel. The Baranof Wind was later towed back to port.

The US Coast Guard launched an investigation into the August 2012 incident and will no doubt investigate the latest episode as well.

Written by Peter Needham

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