Sapphire Princess accidents and incidents

Sapphire Princess cruise ship


Length (LOA)
290 m / 951 ft

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CruiseMapper's Sapphire Princess cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3214-passenger vessel owned by Princess Cruises. Our Sapphire Princess 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • ship listing/tilting - 2010 (severe)
  • whales killed in Alaska - 2009, 2010
  • pollution in Alaska - 2010 (5 times)
  • deaths - overboard (2009, 2016), drowned (2014)
  • injuries/crimes - 2010 (4 families expelled), 2015 (China/kid near-drowning), 2015 (13 Chinese passengers gradually disappeared during a shore excursion in Busan, South Korea)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2010 (96/18)
  • boat rescue - 2023 (Wilderness Discoverer)
  • 2014 season - Alaskan cruise replaced with Asian voyages

05 June 2023Boat Rescue

In the morning on June 5, 2023, while navigating in the Glacier Bay NP, the ship was requested by the USCG to assist Wilderness Discoverer (a boat of UnCruise Adventures) that lost power and was drifting after suffering an engine room fire.

Wilderness Discoverer (carrying a total of 78 people /51 passengers plus 27 crew) contacted the USCG Sector Juneau at 7:30 am (3 pm UTC). The nearby Sapphire Princess assisted in disembarking all passengers (51 people) and 17 of the crew, while the other 10 crew members remained on board. All disembarked were transferred (via a lifeboat) to Sapphire Princess.

As the fire left the boat without power/propulsion and communications, the USCG was contacted through Sapphire Princess. The ship was released by the USCG and left at ~3:15 pm (~23:15 UTC) after all evacuated were transferred to the cruise yacht Baranof Wind (1984-built, MMSI 367365630), which transported them to Bartlett Cove Seaplane Base.

The incident occurred during the 7-day "Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise" (itinerary May 31 - June 7, from Vancouver to Whittier), visiting Alaska's destinations Ketchikan (Jun 2), Juneau (Jun 3), Skagway (Jun 4) and Glacier Bay (Jun 5).

02 January 2020Structural and Technical Issues

On January 2, 2020, while en-route from Indonesia to Malaysia, the liner was struck by lightning. No injuries were reported, but the vessel sustained some structural damages, including to the radar system. In the early evening, one of the two radars was fixed with spare parts from the other.

The incident occurred during the 10-day Malaysian Peninsula and Indonesia cruise (itinerary December 28 - January 7) roundtrip from homeport Singapore and visiting Benoa (Bali Indonesia), Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Georgetown (Pulau Penang Island, Malaysia) and Phuket (Thailand).

10 September 2016Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On September 10, 2016, a 67-year-old female passenger was reported jumped overboard (confirmed by a CCTV video). The woman (of Chinese origin, Hunan Province resident) jumped from Deck 15 while the ship was in the Sea of Japan.

The incident was reported to the Chinese authorities and the vessel immediately reversed course to search for the missing passenger. Later, it was cleared and authorized to continue to the next scheduled call port Nagasaki.

China Coast Guard (Shanghai centre) conducted search and rescue operation, deploying 1 helicopter and 2 ships, but failed to find the body. The accident occurred at ~10:30 pm, while the ship was en route from Shanghai (China) to Nagasaki (Japan) and Cheju (South Korea) on a 4-day itinerary (Sept 10-14).

18 October 2015Other Incidents

On October 18, 2015, a total of 13 Chinese cruise passengers (7 men, 6 women) gradually disappeared during a sponsored by Princess Cruises excursion in South Korea. All the missing passengers disembarked the cruise ship in the morning (Oct 18) for a day-long shore excursion. They ran away from the tourist group in small groups (of 2-3 people) during the organized sightseeing city tour in call port Busan.

05 August 2015Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On August 5, 2015, an 8-year-old female passenger was found unconscious in the swimming pool on Spa Deck 15. The girl (of Chinese origin) was travelling together with her mother on a 4-day cruise (itinerary Aug 2-6) from China to Japan and Korea, leaving roundtrip from homeport Baoshan Shanghai to Fukuoka and Jeju Island.

The mother let the kid play in the paddling pool (for kids only) and was relaxing beside the pool when she noticed her daughter was missing. CCTV camera footage showed the girl had been in difficulties for ~9 min. The ship’s med staff used a ventilator to keep her breathing until the arrival in Shanghai (at ~3 am on Aug 6). The kid reached alive Shanghai’s Xinhua Hospital ~12 hours after the incident.

11 August 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

On August 11, 2014, a 29-year-old female passenger (of Chinese origin) was found dead in the Calypso swimming pool (on Lido Deck 14). The accident happened on the 2nd day of a short cruise from China to South Korea, while the ship was en route to Jeju Island (aka Jejudo) from Shanghai (Port Baoshan).

07 August 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

On August 7, 2014, a 29-year-old female passenger was found dead in one of the onboard swimming pools (Neptune Pool, on Lido Deck 14 forward). Following an investigation, the woman was presumed drowned. The ship was on an Asian cruise and en-route from Shanghai (China) to Chejudo Island (South Korea).

In 2015, the UK’s MAIB (“Maritime Accident Investigation Branch”) issued an investigation report on the passenger drowning incident. The report stressed, that the pool was not supervised and monitored (without pool attendants and CCTV cameras). The medical team was unreasonably delayed. The male crew who first arrived at the scene to respond was not CPR trained. The man (of Serbian origin) called for a medical emergency, but couldn’t communicate properly with the crew who answered the call (of Filipino origin) due to the language barrier.

2014Other Incidents

Originally, in 2014 the ship was scheduled to operate on Alaska cruises, but the shipowner decided to re-position the vessel to Asia. All Alaskan and most of the Hawaiian cruises in 2014 were cancelled. Until the start of the summer 2014 Asian itinerary program, the ship operated on short roundtrip cruises from homeport Los Angeles CA.

On April 3, 2014, the ship was relocated to Asia via 25-day Transpacific crossing to Osaka Japan from Los Angeles, with call ports Honolulu (Hawaii), Guam, Keelung (Taiwan), Okinawa (Japan), Shanghai (China), Kagoshima and Osaka (Japan). The ship’s 2014 Alaskan program was re-scheduled and operated by the fleet mate Crown Princess.

07 September 2011Other Incidents

On September 7, 2011, at the end of its Alaskan season, the cruise ship was involved in a weather-related incident. Sudden gusts of wind (over 30 mph / 50 kph) prompted the vessel to increase power to manoeuvre into Casey Moran Harbor (Ketchikan AK). By doing that, it swamped with water a small boat (20 ft / 6 m long), also damaging the dock to which the boat was attached. Another metal boat (on another floating dock) was swamped too. The cruise company arranged for both sunk boats to be re-floated.

28 July 2010Other Incidents

On July 28, 2010, while the vessel was en-route to Juneau AK from Ketchikan AK, a humpback whale (~40 ft / 12 m) was found stuck on the ship's bulbous bow. The incident was reported to USCG and investigated by federal authorities.

12 July 2010Ship Listing

On July 12, 2010, passengers reported a severe listing during the 7-day Alaskan cruise (itinerary July 4-11) from homeport Seattle WA. The incident occurred around dinner time when the sea water level was reported reaching Main Dining Room restaurant’s windows (Deck 5). The listing lasted for ~1 min. Several minutes later, the Captain announced via the PA system, that a humpback whale had traversed in front and the ship took evasive manoeuvre to avoid it.

June 2010Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On June 5, 2010, the cruise company confirmed a Norovirus outbreak affecting a total of 96 passengers and 18 crew. All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. The ship was on a 7-day Alaskan cruise leaving roundtrip from homeport Seattle WA.

After the passenger disembarkation at Terminal 91, the crew was sanitizing the vessel for ~2 hours before the next embarkation. Local authorities were notified of the illness outbreak. CDC didn’t investigate the incident.

14 January 2010Crew / Passenger Crimes

On January 14, 2010, four families with kids were forcibly removed from the ship in call port Cabo San Lucas Mexico. They all had to fly back to LA on their own expenses. The ship was on a Mexican Riviera "Christmas Cruise" from homeport Los Angeles CA.

The 4 families were expelled on the Xmas Day (Dec 25). The reason for the Captain’s decision was that on the previous day, the ship’s security crew spotted on CCTV cameras the kids throwing food and other items overboard.

2010Sea Pollution

In 2010, the vessel was reported and sanctioned 5 times for sea pollution in Alaskan waters.

24 September 2009Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On September 24, 2009, a female passenger jumped overboard in a suicide attempt. The woman (Edelgard Carney, from California USA) jumped intentionally and killed herself at ~6:10 am while the ship was in Alaskan waters, approx 20 ml / 320 km south of call port Ketchikan AK. The CCTV camera showed her jumping off the ship’s stern. The incident report mentioned that the woman had a life-threatening illness.

25 July 2009Other Incidents

On July 25, 2009, when the vessel docked in Vancouver BC, a dead Fin Whale (~70 ft / 21 m long) was found lodged on top of the ship's bulbous bow. The incident was reported to USCG and investigated by federal authorities.

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