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American River Cruise Ship Runs Aground With 120 Passengers Aboard

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American Jazz (file image courtesy American Cruise Lines)

Published Jul 8, 2021 10:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday, the river cruise ship American Jazz went aground on a sandbar in Lake Barkley, Kentucky with 120 passengers on board. 

While on a seven-night cruise from Memphis to Nashville, the vessel ran aground near the town of Canton at a position outside of the navigation channel. The incident reportedly occurred Wednesday afternoon, and the operator, American Cruise Lines, notified Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley on Thursday morning at about 0800. A Coast Guard shallow water response boat crew headed out with a marine investigator on board to assess the situation.  

No damage, pollution, or injuries were reported, and the Coast Guard is working with American Cruise Lines to establish a salvage plan to dislodge the cruise vessel. The cause of the incident is under investigation. 

"The American Jazz is currently being assisted off a sandbar in Lake Barkley. There is no damage to the small riverboat, and both guests and crew aboard have been informed of the temporary delay," spokesperson Alexa Paolella told local media in a statement. "American Cruise Lines is taking all appropriate steps with authorities while local service providers assist the ship. American Jazz is following a seven night Music Cities Cruise from Memphis to Nashville and the cruise is expected to resume with a few adjustments to the normal schedule." 

Bystander video from the scene shows two large towboats working to refloat the American Jazz (below). As of Friday morning, the vessel was still aground, and the U.S. Coast Guard was facilitating arrangements to transfer passengers to shore via tender.