PRINSENDAM 35th Anniversary Rescue Reunion

A reunion honoring the 35th Anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard’s spectacular rescue of 520 passengers and crew from the fire-stricken MV PRINSENDAM off the coast of Alaska.

For more information on the PRINSENDAM Rescue Reunion, click here

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THE SANDS OF ALANG: The latest DVD about shipbreaking in Alang, India

On Friday, October 2 through Sunday, October 4, 2015, a reunion of the rescuing Coast Guard team, passengers and crew of the stricken MV PRINSENDAM, which caught fire on October 4, 1980 and later sank, will be held in Seattle.

Contact – YNCS Stan Jaceks, USCG (Ret.)
E-Mail: or
Phone (509) 760-4866.

PRINSENDAM post card rendering. Peter Knego collection.

Built in the Netherlands in 1973, Holland America Line’s 350-passenger, 9,000-gt MV PRINSENDAM was a one-off cruise ship that resembled a smaller version of the 1982-built MV NIEUW AMSTERDAM and MV NOORDAM. The ship was based in Singapore in the winter and Alaska in the summer and caught fire 120 miles off the coast of Yakutat while on a 30-night cruise to Singapore following the ship’s Alaska season.

Burnt-out PRINSENDAM under tow. Courtesy of USCG.

Fire erupted in the engine room of the then seven-year-old ship during the night of October 4, 1980, when the Captain Cornelius Wabeke ordered all passengers and crew to their muster stations. After efforts to extinguish the fire failed, he gave the abandon ship order in the early morning of October 5.

Burnt-out PRINSENDAM’s upper decks. Courtesy of USCG.

Despite the challenges of the ship’s list making some of the boats impossible to launch, the onset of a storm and 25-foot swells, all passengers and crew were safely rescued, many airlifted by Coast Guard helicopters in 50 knot winds to the tanker WILLIAMSBURGH and several cutters, including the CGC BOUTWELL and CGC MELLON.

PRINSENDAM’s list increases. Courtesy of USCG.

While under tow to Portland, Oregon, the PRINSENDAM capsized and sank on October 11, 1980.

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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