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Cruise ship that crashed into San Francisco pier expected to depart Sunday

Damage to the side of the stern of Ruby Princess cruise ship is viewed at Pier 27 in San Francisco on Thursday. | Isaac Ceja/The Standard

Thousands of passengers and crew remain aboard the Ruby Princess at Pier 27 as repair work continues

The thousands of passengers and crew aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship will have to hold tight at San Francisco’s Pier 27 another day.

The Princess Cruises ship struck the pier early Thursday morning, causing damage to both the port and the vessel and a now anticipated 3-day delay before setting sail for Alaska.

Teams from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Port State Control shop did an inspection of the ship Friday afternoon and located various areas of the hull that needed additional repairs, a spokesman said Saturday morning.

“After our teams went on board yesterday, they did identify all the compromises in the hull’s structure which needed to be fixed,” Lt. Junior Grade Benjamin Wathen said. “Through testing of the hull, we were able to give recommendations to the ship.”

Princess Cruises technical experts believe that the repairs to the damaged portion of the hull will take 24 hours to complete, according to the company. The new estimated time of departure for the ship is now slated for 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“Princess has considered all possible alternatives and has selected this itinerary to preserve as much of our guests’ precious vacation time as possible,” the company said in a statement.

Passengers wait to board the Ruby Princess cruise ship at Pier 27 in San Francisco on Thursday. | Isaac Ceja/The Standard

Passengers may stay aboard the Ruby Princess until 1 p.m. on Sunday to “better assist with alternative plans they may be making,” Princess Cruises said, adding that those who decide to cancel their trip will receive a full refund with an additional 50% future cruise credit and those who decide to continue with their cruise will also receive a 75% refund with a 75% cruise credit.

What was initially a 10-day cruise to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest has now been reduced to an expected 7-day cruise, the company said.

But before the ship can leave, the Coast Guard must deem the ship fit to sail.

“We’ll send a team back to the ship and make sure that everything was fixed properly,” Wathen said. “Once we deem it safe to sail at that point we will be able to let it sail. It’s hard to give a solid timeline with repairs, but with that being said, there is certainly progress being made.”

Aside from the ship, a San Francisco dock was also damaged by the collision.

Boris Delepine, the Port of San Francisco’s legislative affairs manager, said Friday crews are still determining the extent of the damage to the pier and required repairs.

“The port continues to assess the damage to Pier 27 and will work to make the necessary repairs for continuity of operations,” Delepine said. “With multiple berths throughout the Port of San Francisco, we stand ready to receive our scheduled cruise calls in the week ahead and do not expect cruise flow to be impacted.”