A small (178 foot) expedition cruise ship sailing in Glacier Bay National Park caught on fire yesterday morning. The engine room fire required the Wilderness Discoverer to evacuate fifty-one guests and sixteen crew members.

UnCruise Adventures, which operates the ship, said there were no injuries from the fire.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Juneau received a call at 7:30 am from crew members aboard the expedition ship about the fire.

The Sapphire Princess, owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by Princess Cruises, ferried passengers from the Wilderness Discoverer using excursion craft.

UnCruise Adventures, which operates the expedition ship, did not disclose any information regarding the cause of the fire.

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June 7, 2023 Update:

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise has an interesting article about the fire. This newspaper reports that the expedition vessel was unable to report the fire to the Coast Guard via radio due to the fact that the fire left the vessel adrift without electricity or communication. The Wilderness Adventurer had to communicate with the Coast Guard through the Sapphire Princess, which sent a single life boat to transfer the passengers and crew from the Wilderness Adventurer to the Princess cruise ship.

One passenger on the expedition vessel “said he saw an oil boom deployed at the base of the ship and suspected the fire might have been caused by a fuel leak. He’s in the fuel business, so he recognized the floating white line in the water as a boom to soak up any potential oil.

UnCruise and the Coast Guard reported on Monday that there were “currently no discernible environmental impacts within the affected area.”

Sapphire Princess had to depart the scene departing around 3:15 p.m. after being relieved of her duties by the Coast Guard. The Sapphire Princess was continuing north, so evacuated passengers boarded another boat, the Baranof Wind, which took them south to port.

A passenger who transferred from the expedition ship to the Baranof Wind was required to be medevaced via a National Park Service helicopter that had been circling the ships. The passenger was then transferred to a hospital.

Image credit: Top – Susie Posson via CNN; middle – U.S. Coast Guard photo via Anchorage Daily News; bottom – Dan Reilly via Adirondack Daily Enterprise .