07/08/2010: "Catalyst Runs Aground"
(UPDATED 7-9-10 8:00AM) A number of news sources have reported the local 75’ whale watching boat Catalyst has run aground just west of Juneau Alaska, where it conducts whale watching tours. Q13 Fox reports there were no injuries, and no signs of damage or pollution. The Catalyst is owned an operated by long time residents Bill & Shannon Bailey of San Juan Island. Shannon Bailey explains what happened:
“The MV Catalyst hit a rock while whale watching off Port Houghton on July 6th on one of their seven day trips in SE Alaska. No one was injured and the boat was fine. However all passengers were evacuated off the boat by skiff to the nearby Robert Island. There they were taken care of by the crew members, while the captain, Bill Bailey, returned to the boat to prepare her for keeling over as the tide was going out.
He was able to keep the boat stable, until the tide came in hours later and she went afloat. The Coast Guard had been called and all safety rules had been followed. There was no pollution in the water. The Coast Guard stayed by while the Catalyst righted itself.
The guests, along with two crew members were then taken by the Coast Guard cutter to Petersburg AK and put up for the night at a hotel. The Catalyst, with the captain and engineer, followed the Coast Guard vessel to Petersburg. She was examined the next day by a diver and found sound. The Coast Guard however wanted the Catalyst hauled and inspected.
The boat was hauled the night of July 7th and inspected the next morning by the Coast Guard marine inspector. She passed her inspection and in fact was given a 5 Star Safety Inspection rating and certificate. She has been cleared and returned to charter and the master (captain) was not given any marks on his record. The Catalyst after minor cosmetic repairs returned to the water that night, July 8th on the high tide.
The guests meanwhile had been staying at the hotel and fed on the Catalyst and at local restaurants as well as taken on expeditions by the crew in the local area. They are all doing fine and have looked on this trip as quite an adventure. They have personally informed Pacific Catalyst that they are having a great time, and that the crew has performed professionally and have taken good care of them.
Most of the guests decided to wait out the haul out and inspection and return to the Catalyst when she left for Endicott Arm, Ford’s Terror and Dawes Glacier, so that the guests could have a look and experience these places, before moving onto Juneau by Saturday. To all concerned be assured the MV Catalyst is sound and is continuing serving her guests as scheduled. We commend the captain and crew and guests for their attitudes and hard work in taking care of the Catalyst.
Pacific Catalyst II Inc.”