The event took place on December 26, 2009, according to a statement by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). The ship was preparing for a passenger Zodiac landing on a calm day. However, a strong current pushed the ship toward the island, where it struck rocks. The ship lost electrical power, but at no time were any of its 65 passengers or 65 crewmembers in danger.
Sister ship Corinthian II, the nearest ship in the area, was contacted, and a full systems check of Clelia II was undertaken. The passenger landing took place as planned. Power was restored an hour and a half after the incident, and the vessels set sail for Ushuaia together.
The ships arrived back in Argentina on December 30. Clelia II continued on to Punta Arenas for repairs, forcing the December 29 and January 8 itineraries to be canceled. At press time, a representative from Travel Dynamics could not be reached for comment about what accommodations had been made or reimbursements given to passengers on the canceled cruises.
Antarctica continues to be a risky destination for cruise ships. In mid-November 2009, the expedition vessel Kapitan Khlebnikov got wedged in the ice of Antarctica's Weddell Sea, and in February 2009, Quark Expeditions' Ocean Nova ran aground in Marguerite Bay. Prior to that, various other ships ran aground or got stuck in ice or rocks in the region, and in 2007, G.A.P. Adventures' M/S Explorer sank after striking ice.
Stay tuned for further details about Clelia II and its Antarctica cruise season.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor