June 11 - 1990: Cruise ship runs aground off Woods Hole

1990: Passengers evacuated after cruise ship runs aground off Cape Cod; 2006. Rare pygmy whale strands at Dennis beach
All the networks and newspapers were reporting that hundreds of cruise ship passengers had been ferried ashore this day from the Bermuda Star after it ran aground in heavy fog and began taking on water two miles from Woods Hole. It was pulled free and anc

1990: 617-foot Bermuda Star ran aground on a rocky ledge off Naushon Island

Three hours ahead of schedule and off course when it ran aground

On this day in 1990 the 617-foot cruise ship Bermuda Star slammed into submerged rocks off Naushon Island about two miles from Woods Hole and gashed the hull, Coast Guard officials said. The ship was traveling from New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia and was heading for its next port of call in Provincetown later that day.

None of the 680 passengers or 380 crew members were ever in danger, said Lt. Peter Keane of the Coast Guard. ''There was no panic on board.'' 

Scott Graham, a Coast Guard marine safety officer in Providence, R.I., said the ship was three hours ahead of schedule and off course when it ran aground in the morning.

''I'm sure they didn't want to be where they were,'' Mr. Graham said. ''They should have been more south.'' Tugboats freed the ship from the rocks at 9:10 P.M., and it was anchored in Buzzards Bay, where divers patched up the two holes in her hull, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Dan Vineski.

Earlier efforts to free the ship had been given up to await the high tide.  The passengers aboard and some crew members were being taken by commercial ferries across Buzzards Bay to New Bedford.

Booms were strung around the ship to contain an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 gallons of fuel that spilled from the engine area.  The Coast Guard received a distress call shortly after 8 A.M. when the ship ran aground in waters less than 30 feet deep, possibly on a rocky ledge, Petty Officer Vineski said.

Fog had cut visibility to about one-quarter mile when the ship hit bottom, officials said.  A stop had been planned that day in Provincetown.

Bruce Fisher, president of the Northeast Pilots Association in Newport, R.I., said the ship picked up a member pilot from his group before the crash near the Cape Cod Canal.  ''The ship arrived off the west end of the canal,'' Fisher said. ''Fog became dense. The ship was waiting for the fog to clear. Consequently, somehow it ended up where it is now.''

A hole was discovered in the right rear part of the hull. The dimensions of the gash were not immediately available, but most of the water rushing in was halted by midday, officials said.

The ship, owned by the Bermuda Star Cruise Lines and sails under a Panamanian flag, regularly cruises New England in the summer from the area of Philadelphia and New York to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Photos courtesy of USCG and Bermuda Cruise Lines.

2006: Rare pygmy whale beaches itself  in West Dennis

On this day in 2006, despite valiant efforts the Cape Cod Stranding Network was unable to save this rare Pygmy Sperm whale after it beached this morning at West Dennis Beach. The adult female had to be euthanized after efforts to refloat it failed. It’s not clear if the whale suffered trauma from a boat or may have already been sick when it beached.

A crowd gathered as word spread of the stranding. The 16-foot whale was taken to a lab in Woods Hole to find out why it was stranded. There are less than 400 Pygmy Sperm Whales in the wild. Photos courtesy of the Cape Cod Stranding Network.


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