Juneau - (Ass Mess): The latest disaster to strike Majestic America's paddlewheel cruiser Empress of the North which is close to capsizing off Juneau's icy waters today has been dubbed a fearsome hex by ex-crew members who have refused to sail in her ever since she failed a February inspection.
A subsequent investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was carried out in March after 26 passengers and seven crew members got sick on a five day Columbia River cruise.
Now former passengers says she may be jinxed as her owners admitted today that shortly after her 2003 maiden voyage the sailing vessel hit a navigation lock at the Ice Harbor dam on the Snake River.
In the following month of November the Snake River feat was repeated at Oregon side of the Columbia River near The Dalles where she ran aground.
And then to top it all the Empress ran aground on a sand bar in the Columbia near Washougal.
Today's Heinous Reef incident close to the Weyhrauch Strait may be the sign that owners Majestic have been waiting for amid calls by maritime union staff that the cruiser is a useless lemon that should be scuttled.
As she lies adrift on the reef this evening passengers and crew are being waiting in Juneau after an air and sea rescue ensured they didn't go down with the craft.
"We damned well want our money back," said a couple who had saved all year to afford the five day cruise that ended up in disaster utside Juneau.
"And what's more we also feel sick!"