New Jacks or Better Casino cruise ship hits buoy

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A new Jacks or Better Casino yacht collided with a buoy late Saturday night, according to the US Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Matt Whitney said the cruise ship was carrying a little over 100 people on board at the time.

The marker ripped a gash along the port side of the ship. This comes just a couple of weeks after the casino cruise ship's grand opening on April 7.

The company released a statement:

"On Saturday evening about 11:30 p.m., Jacks or Better Casino (JOB), a day cruise gambling vessel that docks in Galveston, brushed a buoy at the jetty. It suffered some minor cosmetic damage as it slid across the marker. No injuries on board and the ship continued toward its docking moor at the Galveston Yacht Basin. This is the first accident that JOB has been involved with, but it is not the first time this buoy has been hit. In this instance, there were two buoys. As the co-captains, who have over 50 years of combined experience, approached the first buoy, they could only see the second one, a 1/8 of a mile away. Both lined up so that their vision was obscured by blinding lights used to illuminate a disabled ship. A blind spot was created and it was too late to avoid a brush with the marker. All safety measures were followed and USCG mentioned that they were pleased how the incident was handled. The safety and well-being of the passengers and crew are of utmost importance to the casino. Rocky Herrin, JOB's general manager, is in contact with the Port authorities to suggest a remedy so that this particular buoy won't be hit again. Jacks or Better Casino provides full Las Vegas action including a sports book on the vessel. It goes out nine miles to federal waters where gaming is completely legal. The ship is going in for repairs so that they will be completed in a timely matter."

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