February 1, 2007
NCV Ship Runs Aground in Antarctica
Norwegian Coastal Voyage's Nordkapp, which earlier this week ran "arock" near Deception Island, one of the isles of South Shetland, transferred its passengers yesterday to Nordnorge, a sister ship. The ship has since sailed on to Maxwell Bay at King George Island, also part of the South Shetlands; there, it will undergo some temporary repairs to its hull, which was damaged when it got caught in the submerged rocks. Ultimately it will sail on to Argentina where it will receive permanent repairs.
As we reported yesterday, the incident effectively ended its Antarctica cruise, a 19-night expedition from Santiago to Argentina's Ushuaia a few days earlier than planned. Fortunately, Nordnorge was not only cruising nearby but it also had plenty of room for the 294 passengers onboard. Nordnorge is on its way to Ushuaia, and passengers on both will end their cruise pretty much on schedule. Spirits are reported as jovial.
In the meantime, even though the extent of the hull damage to Nordkapp is not yet determined, Norwegian Coastal Voyage has gone ahead and canceled the rest of its Antarctic season (there were three cruises remaining). According to the latest company statement, "passengers will be offered the opportunity to rebook on another ship this season (space available) or offered full refunds with strong incentives to rebooking in the future."
"We are," continues NCV President Hans Rood, "making every effort to ensure these passengers fulfill what for many is a trip of a lifetime."
Affected travelers should contact their travel agent or the cruise line for more specifics -- or wait for a statement that's to be released today that will offer additional details.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor