(Photo Credit: Seattle USCG MSST)
VideoRay LLC released what is believed to be the first images taken underneath a grounded cruise ship. When the United States Coast Guard’s Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) 91101, based in Seattle, Washington responded to the grounding of the 360 foot passenger overnight sternwheeler Empress of the North, a VideoRay ROV was used to investigate the conditions under the hull. Shortly after deploying the ROV, the MSST saw dramatic images as the robot swam under the vessel and revealed that a large boulder had actually punctured the hull. The team immediately worked out a new refloating plan, which was ultimately successful.
The Empress of the North ran aground on March 24 on the Columbia River, near Washougal, Washington. Aground it sat at an 8 – 10 degree list. The Empress of the North left Astoria, Oregon., March 19, for a seven-night Columbia River cruise. It was scheduled to return to Astoria on March 26.