The LST-325 cut its annual River Cruise short and headed back to Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday.
Officials with the ship said Tuesday that the decision to head back to the River City was made for several reasons, including a breakthrough COVID-19 case among the crew.
We're told that one crew member tested positive for COVID-19 and that two others reported possible symptoms of the virus. Of the 40-plus crew members currently aboard the historic WWII ship for the annual River Cruise, all were vaccinated.
"We said no, let's just cut our losses here, an over-abundance of caution here for the public and us we just turned around and came home," said LST-325 Board Member Chris Donahue.
Since the ship would be traveling through and making stops in Kentucky during its River Cruise, the decision was also made due to Governor Andy Beshear's calling of a special session of the state legislature seeking emergency power authorization to implement COVID-19 mitigation measures, the results of which could affect the LST-325 and its crew members.
"Our next cruise venue after Brandenburg was to be Ashland, KY," officials with the LST-325 said in their announcement Tuesday. "The Memorial felt it could not risk the time and expense of getting there only to potentially be prevented from opening to the public."
Board Members call the decision to cut the tour short painful, as the annual tour is their main source of income.
After taking last year off due to COVID-19, this is a big financial hit for them, but they feel it's best to take the necessary precautions for the safety and wellbeing of both the crew and visitors.
"Just like every other company or restaurant in the world took a hit this year, we took a hit last year because we didn't cruise anywhere," said Donahue. "We'll obviously take another one this year but that's just the world we live in right now."
The ship was originally set to arrive back in Evansville on Saturday, Sept. 25. It arrived back in Evansville on Tuesday around 7:30 p.m.