Whale Watching Boat Stranded Overnight at Sea Returns to Boston

More than 160 people, including the crew, had to sleep on board the ship.

After passengers on a whale watching ship were forced to spend the night at sea when the boat they were on got entangled on an underwater cable line 13 miles off Nahant, the vessel returned to the shores this morning with the assistance of the Coast Guard.

According to Coast Guard officials, what was supposed to be a three-hour tour on a Boston Harbor Cruises boat named the Cetacea, to see the sights and sounds of the whales swimming not far from Boston Harbor, turned into an overnight dilemma with 163 people, including the crew, trapped on board.

Watchstanders at the Boston Coast Guard base got notification at 4:30 p.m. on Monday evening that the 83-foot passenger vessel had a line wrapped up in its propeller, preventing it from returning to the docks. The boat was on its way back from its day trip, after launching off of Long Wharf at 1 p.m.

Unable to free the boat from the line, passengers were informed that they would be sleeping on the ship until help arrived the next morning. Attempts were made to transfer passengers onto a separate boat, but due to weather conditions and choppy waters the transfer was deemed unsafe.

Coast Guard officials said they provided medical personnel to evaluate the passengers and crew for any immediate concerns and assisted as necessary. Two boats stayed the night nearby just in case, according to the Coast Guard’s report on the incident. No injuries were reported.

Boston Harbor Cruises sent contracted divers out again early Tuesday morning, who were able to clear the line from the propeller and send the ship back to Long Wharf. The vessel arrived at 8 a.m., with the passengers in good health.

A spokesperson from Boston Harbor Cruises said the vessel became entangled when it entered a restricted management area. The company is cooperating with the Coast Guard investigation to see if the error was the fault of the boat’s operator.

Officials from Boston Harbor Cruises said those who had to spend the night on the ship were compensated for the ocean mishap.

A passenger on the ship told Boston that besides the “stench of vomit” from people who were seasick, and the lack of places to sleep, Boston Harbor Cruises officials were accommodating and handled the situation well.