UPDATE: IAATO on MV Polar Star

This morning Cruise Passenger received an update from Mary Filbee, manager of marketing and sales for Polar Star Expeditions, who says a watertight Polar Star last night began cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula towards Ushuaia, where the ship is expected to arrive on Friday. Here’s the full update:

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.

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Polar Star Expeditions and MV Polar Star

Capacity: 105 passengers, 50 crew

Length: 86.5 meters

Breadth: 21.2 meters

Draft: 6.85 meters

Gross Tons: 4,998

Ice Class: DNV Ice 1A

Registry: Barbados

Classification Society: DNV (Det Norske Veritas)

Year Built: 1969, rebuilt 2000

The Polar Star has been traveling to Antarctica since 2001.