Citing failed inspections, Coast Guard issues rare no-sail order for Great Lakes cruise ship
Friday, July 6, 2001
DETROIT -- A Great Lakes cruise ship was ordered to stay docked in the Detroit River after it failed a series of health inspections and cruise operators ignored a recommendation not to sail.
The U.S. Coast Guard issued the rare no-sail order for the Greek-owned MTS Arcadia ship - touted as the first in 35 years to sail a full season of cruises in the Great Lakes.
The order was issued Wednesday after a series of failed health inspections by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which inspects all cruise ships with that stop at U.S. ports.
Ralph Diehl, president of Great Lakes Cruises Inc. of Waukesha, Wis., which chartered the ship, said he was upset that the Arcadia's owner, Attika Shipping Co. of Athens, Greece, did not fix the problems earlier. CDC inspectors had visited the ship in Greece and found a long list of deficiencies.
In the Great Lakes, the Arcadia's troubles were first noted June 20 during a surprise inspection at Milwaukee. The ship, which can carry up to 224 passengers, scored 59 of 100 points; 86 are required for passing.
After it failed another inspection last Saturday in Detroit, the CDC recommended that the vessel not take on passengers or sail until the deficiencies were corrected. But within hours, the Arcadia sailed to Windsor, took on passengers and kept sailing in Canadian waters, officials said.
``I felt confident that we could sail without endangering the passengers,'' Diehl said. But the company did cancel a trip that would have begun Wednesday, telling passengers it was for ``technical reasons,'' the Detroit Free Press reported.
When the ship returned to Detroit on Wednesday, Coast Guard officers and CDC inspectors conducted another inspection and issued the no-sail order. Ship officials would face a $25,000 fine if they violate it.
Diehl said they hoped to get the ship fixed up to past muster by a planned sailing this weekend.
``Right now,'' Diehl said Thursday, ``we are refitting a significant amount of equipment in the kitchen. Workers are going full throttle at it.''
The situation ``is a great disappointment,'' said Christopher Wright, whose Canada-based Cruising the Great Lakes organization has helped revive lakes cruising. ``But people should not judge the other ships on the Great Lakes by the Arcadia.''