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American Jazz cruise ship finally freed from sandbar in Cumberland River near Lake Barkley after week+

The cruise ship American Jazz that had been stuck on a sandbar in the Cumberland River near Lake Barkley for more than a week was finally freed by the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday.

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. Some 27 crew members remained aboard. No medical concerns have been reported.

The board was left in full reverse for about three hours Friday while a towing vessel pushed on it, and after taking a break, the boat worked itself free around 3:20 p.m.

That maneuver had been tried earlier but didn’t work. But since then, the river level was higher and the boat was carrying less fuel.

In a statement, American Cruise Lines had said 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 was 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 Friday to unground the riverboat, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

A safety zone established by the unified command was in effect from mile marker 61.5 to mile marker 63.5 on the Cumberland River as crews worked to unground the vessel.

The American Jazz’s hull is being inspected to make sure there was no damage or water going in.

See The NKyTribune’s Our River column by Capt. Don Sanders about the American Jazz grounding.

Kentucky Today and Staff Report

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