Below are a couple of press releases from Majestic America Line, which operates numerous paddle wheeler on United States rivers and other waterways. Seems they had an early morning fire in the engine room of the Queen of the West, which forced the evacuation of the passengers. One other notable incident of late with Majestic, was the grounding of the Empress of the North in Alaska, its fourth grounding since coming into service in 2002. Rumor was that an inexperienced officer was at the helm without proper supervision or training.
Pictures – promotional shots from company: top – Queen of the West; middle Empress of the North, and bottom picture shows both of them together.
On April 7, 2008, at 11:40 p.m. Majestic America Line Statement – a small fire broke out in the engine room of Queen of the West while the vessel was cruising between The Dalles and John Day Locks in Oregon. The fire was quickly extinguished with no injuries to guests. Three crew members were seen by paramedics for smoke inhalation and released. Queen of the West was towed to Maryhill and guests were transferred to local accommodations. Queen of the West is currently being inspected to assess the extent of the damage to the engine room.
April 9, 2008, Majestic America Line Statement – The Columbia Queen is being brought into service early to accommodate guests on the Columbia River cruise departing on Sunday, April 13 who were originally booked on Queen of the West. The Empress of the North will also be available to guests booked on Queen of the West, as needed. The damages from the small fire in the engine room of Queen of the West on April 8 are currently being assessed.
Here is another news story about it…
Small Fire Forces Cruise Ship Evacuation
By Associated Press
Updated April 10, 2008
MARYHILL, Wash. (AP) – A cruise ship on the Columbia River with 177 people aboard was evacuated early Tuesday after a fire broke out in the engine room, Coast Guard officials said. Three crew members were treated for smoke inhalation.
The fire was quickly extinguished on the 230-foot Queen of the West. No one was injured except for the three crew members, who were treated at the scene, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dave Smith said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
The ship, carrying 124 passengers and 53 crew members, was towed to Maryhill State Park and nudged into the river bank for the evacuation shortly after 5 a.m.
The Queen of the West was built in 1995, features a three-story paddlewheel and has a maximum capacity of 142 passengers, according to the Web site of Majestic Cruise, which operates the ship.
The company offers cruises from Astoria and Portland to Clarkston, Wash., on the Columbia and Snake rivers, as well as on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers between New Orleans and Pittsburgh and between Seattle and the Alaska Panhandle.