The American Jazz, a small cruise ship owned by American Cruise Lines, was on its way from Memphis to Nashville when it ran aground on Wednesday, July 7, near the community of Canton in Trigg County with 120 passengers and 54 crew members aboard.
All the passengers were transferred safely to shore by pontoon boats along with six crew members on July 9, and were taken to Nashville by bus. 48 of the crew originally remained aboard, but WPSD-TV in Paducah reports the number of crew members is now down to 27. No medical concerns have been reported.
In a statement, American Cruise Lines says the riverboat "remains completely safe with all onboard systems operational and poses no danger to any crew who remain on board.”
They noted the American Jazz is out of the channel and not in the path of river traffic, adding, “There continues to be no damage, no pollution and no environmental concerns."
The Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command, which was established with federal, state and local authorities after the American Jazz got stuck, announced salvage operations are to begin Friday to unground the riverboat, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
A safety zone established by the unified command remains in effect from mile marker 61.5 to mile marker 63.5 on the Cumberland River as crews work to unground the vessel.
“In order to ensure the safety of both responders and the public, boaters are not permitted to transit within 100 yards of the vessel and salvage operations area during salvage operations,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Andrew, commanding officer of the USCG Marine Safety Unit Paducah. “Mariners are encouraged to monitor VHF-FM radio channel 16 for updated information.”
Mariners with questions about the safety zone, or to request transit through zone, should contact the Coast Guard via VHF marine radio Channel 74 or by phone at 270-331-8290.