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Power outage leaves cruise sip adrift

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A power outage left a Holland America cruise ship temporarily adrift in Lynn Canal on Monday.

Passengers aboard the Ryndam woke up to views of Auke Bay instead of Glacier Bay after the cruise ship lost power briefly about 1:30 a.m.

The ship was brought into Auke Bay until the problem could be fixed, said Lt. Cmdr. Joe Paitl, executive officer at the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Juneau.

''It's a very serious event any time you lose power, especially in a ship that size,'' Paitl said.

The Ryndam was on her way from Skagway to Glacier Bay when one of the two generators running suddenly stopped. That caused the ship to lose propulsion, Paitl said.

Within a minute the crew had three other generators running, but it took another 10 minutes to get the ships bow and stern thrusters working. The thrusters control the lateral movement of the ship. Meanwhile, the 55,400-ton, 720-foot-long ship was at the mercy of the currents.

''They had some power to certain electrical circuits, but they had lost their propulsion and the waters too deep to drop their anchor, so they essentially drifted down the center of the channel,'' Paitl said.

About 20 minutes after the generator failed, the ship regained full propulsion.

Since Auke Bay was the closest port, the Coast Guard instructed the Ryndam to go there. The Ryndam arrived in Auke Bay about 4:30 a.m. with a tugboat escort. It was expected to set sail again, but will skip Glacier Bay because of a storm in that area, said Holland America spokeswoman Rose Abello.

Instead, the Ryndam will go to Tracy Arm and the Sawyer Glacier.



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