Regular Cruise Passenger magazine contributor David McGonigal, an expedition leader on board Marina Svetaeva, sent us the following report on the ship’s role in The Polar Star’s accident in Antarctica:
“The Polar Star ran aground south of the Antarctic Circle and we were one of the two closest ships,” David said. “So I had to turn our plans around and steam towards them as they had four holes in the hull and managed to stem the flow in only three.
“It was pretty stressful but it turns out that they have stopped the fourth and will proceed back to Ushuaia with their own passengers – and I don’t have to find a way to fit an extra hundred people on a full ship.”
The Polar Star is by no means the first adventure cruise ship to come to grief in Antarctica. In the past couple of years alone, an Argentinian vessel, Ciudad de Ushuaia, ran aground in Wilhelmina Bay, off the southern tip of South America (December 2008); Quark Expeditions’ Ocean Nova ran aground near an Argentinian research station west of Debenham Island (February 2009); and just last December, Clelia II was caught in a massive storm, in which a window on the bridge was broken.
Apart from one injured crew member on Clelia II, nobody in these incidents was hurt – it’s not called ‘adventure cruising’ for nothing!