River cruise ship runs aground near Canton, Kentucky

Photo: US Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Gabriel Wisdom

A cruise ship with 120 passengers and 54 crewmembers on board ran aground in the Cumberland River near Canton, Kentucky, on Wednesday, July 7.

All passengers and six crewmembers of American Jazz, a vessel owned by American Cruise Lines, were safely evacuated by the crews of assisting vessels deployed by a US Coast Guard-led unified command. Forty-eight crewmembers have remained on board to assist in salvage operations.

No damage, pollution, or injuries were reported. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command has continued to coordinate to identify the safest and least intrusive salvage plans to free American Jazz from where it has run aground.

The coast guard said the unified command, which also includes American Cruise Lines representatives, is in the planning process of safely and efficiently returning the vessel to normal operations while taking precautions to mitigate any environmental impact.

A three-mile (4.8-kilometre) safety zone has been put in place to ensure the safety of response crews and the public.

American Cruise Lines has also contracted with marine recovery experts Donjon-SMIT to refloat the vessel. All mechanical systems aboard are fully operational and there is no damage to the vessel.

Dive operations for inspecting the vessel’s hull were approved by the unified command on Sunday, July 11.

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