Passengers taken off grounded riverboat

Written by Nick Blenkey
rivRiverboat American Jazz remains aground

Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command continued to work on the American Jazz cruise ship salvage plan in Cadiz, Kentucky, July 10, 2021. [U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Gabriel Wisdom]

All 120 passengers aboard American Jazz, the river cruise vessel that grounded near Canton, Ky., July 8, were transferred safely to shore Friday, along with eight crewmembers. No medical concerns were noted and 41 crew remained on board.

“The Coast Guard worked with local government and industry partners to safely disembark passengers and crew from the American Jazz,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Andrew, commanding officer, Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah. “The Unified Command will remain on scene until the vessel is safely afloat.”

Yesterday, the Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command continued to coordinate to identify the safest and least intrusive salvage plans to free the riverboat. That was proving tricky because of the extremely shallow water in the area.

“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 Andrew, who is federal on scene coordinator for the incident. “Currently our operations and planning in response to the Lake Barkley grounding involving the American Jazz has been successful thus far due to the partnership with our local county emergency management center and state of Kentucky partner agencies to ensure we all are able to safely respond to this incident.”

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.

“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,” said Alexa Paolella, public relations manager with the vessel’s owner, American Cruise Lines. “American Cruise Lines has also contracted with marine recovery experts Donjon-SMIT to refloat the riverboat. All mechanical systems aboard are fully operational and there is no damage to the vessel. There have been no safety concerns, no injuries and no pollution or environmental issues. The cause of the incident remains under investigation and presently, American Jazz continues to rest on the soft muddy lake bottom.”

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