Local News

Millennium passengers call 911, worried about ‘riot’

The Celebrity cruise ship Millennium returned to Ketchikan Sunday night after mechanical problems. Police responded to the ship late Tuesday night following reports of unruly passengers.

Ketchikan police responded Tuesday night to several emergency calls from passengers on board the stranded Celebrity ship Millennium. Apparently, the callers thought there was going to be a riot.

Here’s police chief Alan Bengaard: “We, the police department, received three 911 calls from passengers on the MV Millennium who stated that people were getting unruly on board the ship, and they believed  a riot was about to begin. Officers responded to the ship, met with ship security and advised them of the 911 calls. Ship security and officers contacted approximately 500 guests on the third floor of the vessel, and subsequently peace was restored and officers left.”

Bengaard says those 500 people were upset about Celebrity Cruise’s plans for where they would go when flown out of Ketchikan.

“The officers … were given the information that some of the passengers were unhappy with the miscommunication between them and the cruise line, and ultimately where their final destination was going to be,” he said. “Initially, evidentially, they were told they were going to be flown to Anchorage, and plans had changed and some were upset with that.”

Bengaard says he believes the passengers will instead be flown to Vancouver.

Cynthia Martinez, director of corporate communications for Celebrity, responded via email to a request for comment. She says she talked with ship security officers, who claim that local police came to the pier about midnight Tuesday in response to 911 calls, but that police did not board the ship. Martinez says that ship security considers the mood on board as “calm.”

She did not offer further comment.

The 965-foot Millennium, with a passenger capacity of about 2,000, has been stuck in Ketchikan since Sunday evening, when it was forced to return to port due to a faulty propeller.

Passengers aboard the Millennium are leaving Ketchikan via chartered flights arranged by Celebrity. They also received full refunds and vouchers toward a future cruise.

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