Archive for Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cruise ship goes aground on river

March 26, 2006

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— A cruise ship with more than 250 people on board ran aground Friday on the Columbia River east of Portland. Officials said no injuries were reported, the vessel wasn't sinking and was not leaking fuel.

The 360-foot Empress of the North - a vessel modeled on the sternwheelers of the 1800s - ran aground between Portland and Washougal, Wash., the Coast Guard said. It sustained some damage, but it was not clear how much, authorities said.

A sister ship, the 230-foot Queen of the West, pulled alongside to take aboard passengers and crew members from the Empress of the North, the Coast Guard said.

A tug wedged a barge between the ships to ensure stability and passenger safety during the transfer, officials said.

The ship's owner, American West Steamboat Co., based in Seattle, was taking the passengers to a hotel for the night while it is determined whether they could complete their cruise.

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