Clipper's Odyssey Strikes Rock, Passengers Evacuated

August 3, 2004
Passengers onboard the adventure-oriented Clipper Cruise Line's Clipper Odyssey got a little more, well, adventure, than they bargained for last weekend. The 128-passenger ship, sailing an exotic Alaska itinerary in the Aleutian Islands, struck an uncharted rock. The collision, which passengers heard (a scraping sound) more than felt, ruptured the ship's fuel tank. Also damaged were Clipper Odyssey's freshwater and grey water tanks.

Folks onboard were quietly evacuated via the ship's own fleet of Zodiacs, and were then picked up by bigger vessels and transported to Dutch Harbor, the nearest port -- some 20 miles away. They were accommodated at a local hotel. The ship itself waited for the tide to push it off the rock and then powered, under its own steam, to Dutch Harbor. There, it is undergoing damage investigation by a team of divers.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a team out to the site to evaluate possible oil leakage and environmental damage and a Clipper spokesman says they found no traces.

Those passengers sailing on the seventh night of an 11-night Nome to Homer cruise were ultimately sent home. Clipper has also canceled the ship's next voyage, a 13-night trip from Homer to Prince Rupert that was slated to depart on August 4.

The company has not yet made an announcement about the ship's next cruise, an August 15 departure that basically retraces, in reverse, the August 4 itinerary.

Clipper's spokesman says that he anticipates the ship's evaluation will be complete this week and that Clipper Odyssey will then sail, under its own power, to Ketchikan for whatever repairs are necessary.