Salvage plans continue for New Orleans cruise ship stuck on Kentucky sandbar


The Lake Barkley Unified Command continues to work with American Cruise Lines in the planning process to safely unground the American Jazz on the Cumberland River in Cadiz, Kentucky, July 11, 2021. The unified command approved dive operations to move the riverboat’s salvage plan. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Gabriel Wisdom)

CADIZ, Ky. (WGNO) — It’s been nearly four days since the ‘American Jazz’ cruise ship en route from Memphis to Nashville grounded itself on a sandbar in the middle of the Lake Barkley reservoir along the Cumberland River on Thursday.

With all 120 passengers and – upon the last report – eight of the 49 crewmembers safely transferred off the boat, the Lake Barkley Grounding Unified Command are busy formulating salvage plans to safely re-float the riverboat still stuck in the middle of the lake in Cadiz, Ky.

According to the latest media release from the US Coast Guard, the ship’s ownership group, American Cruise Lines, as requested the aid of its contracted marine salvagers to work with unified command in the planning process to “safely and efficiently unground the American Jazz while taking precautions to mitigate any environmental impact.”

“American Cruise Lines has contracted with marine recovery experts Donjon-SMIT to re-float the riverboat,” said Alexa Paolella, public relations manager with American Cruise Lines. “American Cruise Lines is actively engaged in the re-float plan for the American Jazz and is working together with the Coast Guard as well as its own team of marine engineers and naval architects.”

The 3-mile safety zone from mile marker 61 to 64 is still in place to ensure the safety of response crews and the public.

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