Grounded Antarctic cruiseship freed after passengers evacuated

The following is the text of two updates issued by Quark Expeditions:
(NORWALK, Conn.) — Quark Expeditions announced at 18:00 EST (23:00 UTC) that M/V Ocean Nova is no longer aground. As anticipated the ship came away with the assistance of the late evening high tide.

The video of the hull of M/V Ocean Nova that was taken during the divers’ inspection prior to the refloating has been reviewed by maritime experts. M/V Ocean Nova has not sustained any damage as a result of the grounding. There has been no leaking of any kind.

Should the inspection that will be conducted in Ushuaia on the ship’s return to port confirm the video findings, Quark Expeditions will operate the February 22, 2009 departure of Ocean Nova. This will be a 20-day voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).

“We are grateful that no environmental damage occurred and that all travelers who were aboard Ocean Nova are safe,•bCrLf said Patrick Shaw, president of Quark Expeditions.


Time: 04:30 UTC / 01:30 Local Time

All guests aboard M/V Ocean Nova have been safely transferred to M/V Clipper Adventurer, where they are enjoying lunch. Activities in the area are planned for the afternoon, after which the vessel will begin its northward journey to Ushuaia, Argentina for disembarkation.

Ocean Nova remains aground, waiting for high tide at 11 PM local time (02:00 UTC) to dislodge it. A preliminary inspection by divers from the Spanish naval vessel Hespérides has found no visible damage or leaks. Quark Expeditions anticipates there will be no negative impact on the environment due to this incident.

Another inspection by divers of M/V Ocean Nova’s hull will be conducted once the ship is afloat. After that inspection, the vessel will return to Ushuaia.

Patrick Shaw, president of Quark Expeditions, said, “Now that our guests are safe aboard Clipper Adventurer, the next update, about M/V Ocean Nova will be issued 09:00 EST, February 19, 2009.

By Professional Mariner Staff