This week, San Francisco witnessed an unusual incident when the Ruby Princess, a colossal cruise ship from Princess Cruises bearing almost 4,000 people onboard, collided with Pier 27 at the Port of San Francisco while trying to dock.
In a public statement, Princess Cruises acknowledged the incident, citing an “unexpected contact” with the pier. The cause of this accident is currently under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Princess Cruises assuaged concerns by confirming that no injuries were reported. They emphasized that the safety of the guests and the crew was not compromised at any point during this mishap. They successfully completed the disembarkation process after ensuring the ship was secure alongside the dock.
The CruiseMapper website, which provides real-time cruise ship tracking, revealed that the ship was returning from an Alaskan voyage that commenced on June 26th. According to the website’s tracking data, the Ruby Princess had been listed as “departing” since Thursday at around 4 p.m.
Subsequent video footage captured the extent of the impact, displaying a significant hole or dent in the ship’s side. In conversation with USA Today, a spokesperson from Princess Cruises stated that they are yet to determine the full extent of the damage. The schedule for the next voyage remains uncertain and is “still being determined.”
Passengers onboard the Ruby Princess recounted their experience. Among the approximately 3,000 passengers and 1,200 crew members, Sacramento resident Paul Zasso recalled the abrupt movement: “I noticed we were spinning pretty quick… we smacked into the dock.”
Passenger Jeremy Jordan likened the sensation of the collision to the force exerted by tugboats. Despite the unexpected occurrence, Jordan assured me it wasn’t violent enough to dislodge objects from the shelves. Reflecting on the incident, Jordan recalled a recent announcement by the captain about the unpredictability of currents when docking.
Meanwhile, another passenger, Jim Simpson, mentioned his family’s delayed return to Alaska due to the incident. However, he remained optimistic about the repairs and the journey ahead, stating, “It’s a 10-day cruise so there is plenty of time… So I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.”
This isn’t the first instance of cruise ships colliding with docks. In 2019, an MSC Cruises ship hit a port and a riverboat in Venice, Italy, and a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship experienced a similar accident in San Juan, Puerto Rico. These past incidents serve as a reminder of the risks and challenges inherent in navigating these mammoth vessels.