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Passengers May Have to Abandon Ship Because of Fire

July 22, 1995

VALDEZ, Alaska (AP) _ An engine-room fire disabled the cruise ship Regent Star early Saturday, and a second ship was standing by in case the 1,280 passengers and crew needed to be evacuated, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The fire was reported around 3:40 a.m. and put out an hour later. Two injured people _ one with a stroke, the other with a broken wrist _ were taken to the Rotterdam, another cruise ship in Prince William Sound.

A tugboat kept the disabled ship from drifting in Knight Island Passage, about 60 miles southwest of Valdez, and the Rotterdam was prepared for a larger evacuation if necessary, Coast Guard Lt. Joe McGuiness said.

Seas were calm, and weather in the area was rainy with variable winds to about 10 mph, ``so the weather is in our favor,″ McGuinness said.

The 38-year-old Regent Star left Seward on Friday for a seven-day cruise, said Latisha Crubaugh, a spokeswoman for the vessel’s parent company, Regency Cruises, in New York.

The cause was under investigation and damage estimates were unavailable, but no oil escaped into Prince William Sound, the site of the nation’s worst oil spill when the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a rock in 1989.

``It looks like it may be an emergency with a happy ending,″ McGuiness said.

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