Small-ship cruise line UnCruise Adventures confirms no injuries after an engine room fire aboard Wilderness Discoverer in Alaska.
On June 5, 2023, UnCruise Adventures, a small-ship expedition cruise line, confirmed a fire incident aboard the company’s Wilderness Discoverer.
The fire broke out at 7:23 AM ADT (Alaska Daylight Time) on June 5th while the ship was in Glacier Bay National Park. Seventy-eight passengers and crew were onboard, and the company confirms there were no injuries.
The fire was contained to the ship’s engine room.
“We are relieved to confirm that there have been no injuries resulting from the fire. Our highly-trained crew promptly extinguished the fire using established emergency protocols, and CO2 was successfully deployed for everyone’s safety,” shared UnCruise owner and CEO, Captain Dan Blanchard, in a press release.
The company reports that it has conducted a thorough assessment, and there are “currently no discernible environmental impacts within the affected area”.
According to UnCruise, local and federal authorities were promptly notified, and the company is working closely with them to ensure a coordinated response in the area.
Additional vessels from the region promptly assisted with the disembarkation of 51 passengers and 16 crewmembers from the Wilderness Discoverer, with eleven crew remaining onboard.
Related: What is an UnCruise?
UnCruise Adventures has stated it will provide full reimbursements to all passengers who were affected by the incident, as well as lodging and flights home.
The cause of the engine room fire has yet to be determined, and an investigation is now underway. The cruise line states it will work extensively with authorities to undertake a full assessment.
In the press release, UnCruise Adventures extended gratitude for the swift response of emergency personnel and acknowledged the professionalism and composure demonstrated by crewmembers throughout this challenging situation.
This is an ongoing story, and I’ll provide updates as new information becomes available.
UPDATE: June 5, 2023 5:30 PM PDT
UnCruise stated in an updated release that smooth operations continue, with local and federal authorities transporting guests and personnel to Glacier Bay National Park headquarters. All affected guests will receive a full refund, and flights will be provided for guests to return home.
UPDATE: June 7, 2023 1:15 PM PDT
UnCruise stated in an updated release that on June 5th Wilderness Discoverer guests were transferred to Princess Cruises‘ Sapphire Princess for a period after the fire was discovered. Guests were then transferred to the Baranof Wind vessel and disembarked at the park headquarters where they were provided flights home and hotels in the interim.
The cruise line also stated that Wilderness Discoverer is repairable and is expected to still sail this season, pending more details on the extent of the areas affected by the fire.
UPDATE: June 9, 2023
On June 9, UnCruise announced significant progress in addressing the engine room fire aboard Wilderness Discoverer.
The company’s internal safety team, along with regulators and underwriters, have inspected the vessel. The heat that started the fire was generated by the port main engine’s wet exhaust mufflers. The heat-damaged region is the size of a small chest freezer and is located on the port side of the engine room between two deep frames.
Outside of this small area, the main source of damage is from smoke and soot. In an updated press release, the company stated that a dedicated team is working hard to speed up the repair procedure and return the ship to her original state. Repairs are being completed with the utmost care and precision, in accordance with the company’s emphasis on safety.
Vigor Shipyard in Ketchikan, Alaska will facilitate the vessel’s repair process.
In response to the incident, UnCruise Adventures implemented a comprehensive plan to ensure the smooth continuation of guests’ adventure experiences. Additionally, the company will re-accommodate all guests who were booked on Wilderness Discoverer in the coming weeks. Affected guests will be rebooked on a similar vessel.
“We deeply appreciate the understanding and patience demonstrated by our guests during this period. Our team is working tirelessly to minimize any inconvenience caused by the incident and to provide alternative arrangements that maintain the exceptional level of adventure and exploration that UnCruise Adventures is known for,” shared Captain Dan Blanchard.
About Wilderness Discoverer
UnCruise Adventures’ Wilderness Discoverer, built in 1992, is a 76-passenger expedition cruise ship that runs itineraries from southeast Alaska: Alaska Fjords and Glaciers and Glacier Bay National Park Adventure.
The three-deck ship, with a GRT (gross register tonnage) of just 99, cruises in Alaska at 9 knots (or 10.3 mph). All staterooms on the expedition vessel are oceanview, and the ship boasts an impressive 2.2:1 guest-to-crew ratio.
Read more about UnCruise Adventures
- UnCruise Adventures’ Wilderness Discoverer Catches Fire in Alaska
- UnCruise Alaska Review – Northern Passages and Glacier Bay
- What is an UnCruise, and is UnCruise Adventures the Right Vacation for You?
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Have you ever been on an expedition sailing with UnCruise Adventures or another small-ship line? What do you think about the fire situation and how UnCruise responded? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below!
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