Wednesday 2 February 2011

UPDATE: Expedition ship hits rock in Antarctica

Source: IAATO

1 Feb 1000 US EST
1 Feb 1500 UTC
1 Feb 1200 Local Time (Ushuaia)
Incident Details:
Vessel: MV Polar Star
Incident Location: Reported as S 66° 51.37’ W 66° 47.81’
Time of incident: 1130UTC / 0830 Local Time January 31

The MV Polar Star received permission from its flag state and classification society to depart its location near Detaille Island, and is now proceeding north along the Antarctic Peninsula, with the intention to return to Ushuaia, Argentina under its own power with all passengers and crew aboard.

In making the announcement, Polar Star Expeditions reports that following yesterday’s incident when the double-hulled ship touched a rock that resulted in a minor breach of the outer hull, officers and crew spent the day assessing damage, taking corrective measures, and consulting with the Halifax home office, flag state and classification society officials.

Last evening at approximately 2100 local time, the MV Polar Star departed its location near Detaille Island and is currently heading north-northeast at approximately 10 knots toward Arctowski Station, a Polish research facility on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. There, as an added precaution, station divers will make an underwater inspection to confirm that the vessel is fit to return to Ushuaia, where passengers will disembark and further assessments of damage and repairs will be made. The company added that an estimated time of arrival in Ushuaia would be announced tomorrow, once the ship departs Arctowski Station.

MRCC Chile and MRCC Punta Arenas have been informed of the plan, and will continue to actively monitor the situation, as will other IAATO passenger vessels in the vicinity of MV Polar Star.

Weather reports in the area are currently good, with similar forecast for the next few days, including the Drake Passage. There are no reports of injury to any of the 80 passengers and 35 crew aboard MV Polar Star, and no evidence of any leakage of fuel oil.

31 January 2011

A mid-ocean emergency rescue for passengers aboard Polar Star in Antarctica.

Early this morning Antarctic expedition cruise ship Polar Star hit rocks mid-Antarctic, leaving passengers stranded “in middle of nowhere.”

Regular Cruise Passenger contributor Kris Madden contacted Cruise Passenger early this morning via email to say Polar Star hit rocks and now has a crack in her outer hull.

Although details at the moment are sketchy, the incident was severe enough that “we had an emergency procedure” and all passengers are now sitting in a “disabled ship in middle of nowhere.”

“No imminent danger but it was pretty scary there for a few hours and looked like we would have to abandon ship … In all likelihood we will be transferred to a rescue ship in the area tonight,” Kris said.

At this time there are no media statements about the incident and Polar Star Expeditions have not responded to our requests for information at this time.
We will keep you closely informed of any developments.

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