American Empress accidents and incidents

American Empress cruise ship

Former names
Empress of the North (Majestic America Line)

Length (LOA)
110 m / 361 ft

  Tracker   Ship Wiki

CruiseMapper's American Empress cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 223-passenger vessel owned by American Cruise Lines. Our American Empress accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • aground - 2003 ()near The Dalles OR / Columbia River), 2006 (near Washougal WA / Columbia River), 2007 (in Icy Strait, near Rocky Island, Alaska)
  • collision/allision - 2003 (lock wall at Ice Harbor Dam WA / Snake River)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2007 (26 / 7)

In the period 2003-2013, the vessel was operated by the American West Steamboat Company (Majestic America Line) under the name "Empress of the North".

14 May 2007Ship Grounding

(Empress of the North) On May 14, 2007, while making a 90-degree turn in Icy Strait (Lynn Canal), the paddle-wheeler ran aground on Hanus Reef (near Rocky Island, Alaska). The accident occurred approx 58 ml / 90 km southwest from Juneau AK.

As the vessel started taking on water and listing, all the 248 passengers were evacuated to the assisting tugboat and barge. At the site were also a small cruise ship and fishing boats, as well as the USCG Cutter Liberty. All passengers were transferred to the MV Columbia ferry (running on AMH / Alaska Marine Highway System).

No injuries we reported. Although listing 6-degrees to starboard, the riverboat was able to return to Juneau AK with 33 crew on board and under its own power. Along the route, the ship was escorted by a USCG helicopter and a small cruise ship.

The following accident investigation concluded that the accident was caused by human error (inexperienced wheelhouse officer). The riverboat was drydock repaired in Portland OR (at Vigor Marine shipyard) and re-entered service on July 7.

March 2007Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Empress of the North) In March 2007, CDC reported on itinerary March 16-21, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) affected 26 passengers (out of 169, or 15,4%) and 7 crew (out of 77, or 9,1%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The ship was on a 5-day Alaskan cruise from homeport Juneau AK.

24 March 2006Ship Grounding

(Empress of the North) On March 24, 2006, the riverboat ran aground on a sandbar near Washougal WA, The ship was navigating on Columbia River (USA), carrying over 250 people.

No injuries were reported. All passengers were transferred to the nearby Queen of the West, which docked alongside to assist the ship.

A tugboat was requested to aid the vessel to refloat. However, the cruise ship was refloated after 2 days, at high tide.

Following drydock repairs, It re-entered service on April 16th.

29 November 2003Ship Grounding

(Empress of the North) On November 29, 2003, while navigating on Columbia River, the riverboat ran aground near The Dalles OR. Two crew and one passenger were reported with minor injuries.

24 October 2003Ship Collision / Allision

(Empress of the North) On October 24, 2003, while navigating upriver on Snake River, towards Clarkson WA, the ship hit a lock gate at Ice Harbor Dam (Washington, USA).

All the ~200 passengers were disembarked and bused back to homeport Portland OR.

Note: Actually, this type of marine accident is called “allision” (striking a fixed object) as opposed to “collision” (striking another vessel).

You can add more details on reported here accident or submit new / your own American Empress ship incident ("Cruise Minus" report) via CruiseMapper's contact form.