Empress of the North Gets Stuck

October 24, 2003

American West Steamboat Company's Empress of the North paddlewheeler, navigating through the Ice Harbor Dam Lock on the Snake River, got stuck -- and spent the night there. The ship was on the third day of an eight day cruise on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. No injuries were reported among the 188 passengers or 84 crew members, who were taken off the ship and transported to area hotels and, ultimately, transported by bus to Portland, Oregon.

The cruise, at that point, was canceled and passengers received full refunds, according to media reports quoting American West Steamboats Joel Perry.

The 360-foot long ship had gotten stuck after striking one of the gates in the lock. Divers inspected Empress of the North and found a couple of dents to the hull that measured about five inches deep. While not causing any significant damage to the hull, their proximity to the ships fuel tank means that Empress of the North will need a closer look.

At this point there's no word on the status of Empress of the North's next voyage though the ship has been safely released from the locks and towed away.