Tahoe Queen remains grounded
Investigators looking into a New Year’s incident involving the Tahoe Queen needing assistance from a tugboat continue to find no signs of structural damage due to grounding, the U.S. Coast Guard reported Monday.
Lt. j.g. Amanda Faulkner, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard, noted the findings aren’t conclusive, and that an investigation into the matter is ongoing.
In the meantime, the Queen remains nonoperational under a “no-sail order” imposed by the Coast Guard last week. Faulkner said the order was issued after investigators found a hydraulic sprocket in need of repair on the starboard side of the old paddle wheeler.
A working hydraulic sprocket is required for the boat to operate on Lake Tahoe, according to the Coast Guard. The repair is not related to the New Year’s incident.
The Tahoe Queen has been issued no-sail orders in the past, but Faulkner said she wouldn’t disclose the number of orders or what they were for.
“No-Sail Orders are not unusual and are to ensure compliance with federal regulation and the safety of (the boat’s) crew and passengers,” she said in an email. “They are administrative in nature and (not) punitive.”
An investigation into last week’s potential grounding was launched after the Queen stopped its dinner cruise prematurely, just after midnight New Year’s Day. About 200 passengers were on board.
The Associated Press reported the boat’s guests were stranded for about two hours some 200 yards from the vessel’s dock.
David Freireich, spokesman for the Tahoe Queen’s owner, Aramark, said the cruise ship stopped and requested a tugboat because of high winds.
“It’s a pretty standard procedure for the crew in these types of weather conditions,” he said Monday.
The Coast Guard sidelined the vessel shortly thereafter, and it is unknown when the Queen will be operational again.
“We’re cooperating with the Coast Guard and their investigation and hope to have the queen back in service as quickly as possible,” Freireich said.
In August, about 300 passengers on the Queen were evacuated after the paddle wheeler ran aground about 1 mile off shore. No one was injured in the incident, but the boat was nonoperational for an extended period of time.
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