GLACIER BAY, Alaska – The sightseeing vessel Baranof Wind hit a rock here in Glacier Bay during a routine trip, causing the vessel to take on water north of Russell Island in Tarr Inlet. In total, 72 passengers were evacuated from the 150-passenger Baranof, many of them with the aid of the crew of the Holland America cruise ship Volendam, which dispatched tenders to assist in the evacuation. Four crew remained on board the ship.
The National Park Service, the Coast Guard, and other good samaritans also responded to the vessel in distress.
According to a report in the Juneau Empire, the captain of the 78′ catamaran Baranof Wind, operated by Allen Marine Tours, was trying to maneuver closer to shore so that passengers could get a better look at some brown bears that had been spotted on shore. The incident occurred during the first half of what is normally an eight-hour tour.
Albert Faria, chief ranger at Glacier Bay National Park and Reserve, told the Empire that the incident was “unique,” and that he had never heard of a similar accident in Glacier Bay.
Allen Marine brought the vessel back to its shipyard in Sitka, Alaska, for repairs and an investigation into the cause of the crash. The company operates sightseeing tours out of Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka, and has built all of the vessels it operates at Allen Marine Inc. The company’s Juneau fleet features nine 78′ cats.