Cruise Ship Crashes into Dock

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Ketchikan, AK, USA - June 15, 2010: Large cruise ship docked at the port of Ketchikan, Alaska

For many people, the takeoff and landing of a plane can be the most stressful aspect of flying. There is something anxiety producing about lifting off or touching back down on the ground. The possible bumps and jostling motion is enough to make a person motion sick—not a great way to begin or end any journey! Because of this, many who dislike the sensation of flying often turn to cruises as a better, less intimidating option for long-distance travel.

Ships are fairly stable, unless the seas are especially choppy. And since there is no risk of lifting up into the air, the departure and arrival of a ship often goes relatively unnoticed. There is a fluidity about cruising that can, at first sight, be very attractive. However, a recent event in an Alaskan port has us revising our previous assumptions about the ease with which a cruise ship arrives and departs.

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, the Celebrity Infinity slammed into a dock in Ketchikan, Alaska. The ship had been attempting to make a normal arrival. However, things did not go as planned. Instead of a gentle entrance, the vessel scraped up against the dock, knocking a catwalk into the water, sustaining scrapes on its side and a small hole above the water line.

Video footage reveals the shock of the witnesses. One man who saw the event, Jamison Monk, reported, “The angle of his bow was wrong…You could hear his bow thruster going to try and push his bow away, but the wind was pushing him into the pier.” Wind speeds at the time of the incident were 70 miles per hour. However, an investigation is underway to determine the actual cause of the crash.

Once docked, the hole was repaired and the ship made its way to its final port of Vancouver, British Columbia. More serious repairs will be made there, but it is estimated that the ship may have caused as much as $3 million in damage to the Ketchikan port. It is still unclear as to how much repair will be needed, and how long the port will have to operate on a two-berth system.

Despite the surprise of this event, passengers say they barely noticed a thing. Some said the incident felt like only a small bump. The cruise line responded quickly and efficiently, ensuring that all guests were informed and travel plans experienced as small of a delay as possible.

An Opinion You Can Trust

We are relieved to hear that no one was injured during this crash. However, should you ever be injured aboard a cruise, know that we are here to help. Our experience with Celebrity and other major cruise lines has allowed us to develop a highly successful approach to maritime personal injury cases.

It is in events such as this that we are grateful for cruise lines that step up to the plate and handle the situation responsibly. This truly does feel like a best-case scenario, and our maritime lawyers are hopeful that other cruise lines will take Celebrity’s example when responding to unexpected events in the future.