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Search for Cruise Ship Man-Overboard Near Juneau Suspended

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Holland America cruise ships in Juneau, 2019 (Ted McGrath / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Published Aug 10, 2022 5:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended a search for a crewmember who went overboard from a Holland America cruise ship in Gastineau Channel, Alaska on Monday night. SAR crew spent more than 10 hours searching an area totaling about 38 square nautical miles.

The Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center received notice of a man-overboard emergency from the crew of the cruise ship Eurodam at about 2245 hours on Monday night. The Eurodam - which was moored alongside fellow Holland America cruise ship Koningsdam in downtown Juneau - reported that crewmembers had heard shouting coming from the water. 

A headcount taken by the crew of the adjacent cruise ship Koningsdam revealed a 31-year-old male crewmember was missing, and CCTV footage confirmed that he had gone over the side.

The first Coast Guard assets arrived on scene at about 2315 hours, and they searched until about 1200 hours on Tuesday - long after a person without a survival suit could stay alive in the cold waters of Southeast Alaska. The units involved included a helicopter from Air Station Sitka, boat crews from Coast Guard Station Juneau and assets from Juneau's police and fire departments. 

“The decision to suspend active searching is based on a number of factors including weather, sea state, water temperature and other variables,” said Ens. Maximilian Carfagno, command duty officer at Sector Juneau. “The Coast Guard’s condolences go out to the family of the missing man during this difficult time.”

The Eurodam and Koningsdam have since departed the port. The cause of the incident is under investigation, but Holland America said in a statement that "a review of closed-circuit TV footage indicated the man likely went overboard intentionally."

“All of us at Holland America Line are deeply saddened by this incident and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time,” the cruise line said in a statement. “We are offering counseling services to team members and guests who may have been affected by this incident.”

Top image: Holland America cruise ships in Juneau, 2019 (Ted McGrath / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)