An Argentine cruise ship/research vessel, the USHUAIA, has run aground off the coast of Antarctica with 122 passengers and crew on board.
Passengers safe after cruise ship USHUAIA grounds.
An Argentine cruise ship/research vessel, the USHUAIA, has run aground off the coast of Antarctica with 122 passengers and crew on board, including 5 clients of Tucan Travel who issued a statement via their website today saying:
"... all passengers have been safely transferred to the Chilean naval ship, Achiles, and are on their way to the Chilean base Frei where they are due to arrive late tonight Argentine time. Tomorrow morning they will be flown out in two groups to Ushuaia. The passengers will then have a two day programme and hotel in USHUAIA."
On board the vessel were 82 passengers and 40 crew members who were all reported to be in good health and the vessel was not in danger of sinking.
Two Chilean naval vessels assisted in the rescue and repatriation of the passengers and crew before attempts to refloat the MV Ushuaia.
Tucan Travel managing director Matt Gannan said he was pleased that despite the grounding, everyone on board was safe and well. ?It is certainly good news that there have been no injuries and that there [was] no imminent danger to any of the passengers and crew on board. We have been in close contact with our cruise operator and owner of the MV USHUAIA, Antarpply"
The cause of the grounding is yet unknown. Antarpply have made arrangements to carry out safety checks on the MV Ushuaia when it arrives back in Ushuaia and further details will be released when results are available.
A small amount of fuel has leaked from the MV Ushuaia but contamination has been contained by oil spill barriers. It is expected that wind conditions will help to disperse any other oil spilled, minimising the environmental impact. The spill is being monitored by Argentine aircraft.
The ship is operated by Antarpply Expeditions undertaking expedition cruises to Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. Antarpply is based in Ushuaia and specializes in taking small groups and individual passengers to some of the most spectacular, remote and pristine parts of the world on board the USHUAIA.
The vessel was once a US research vessel, called MALCOLM BANBRIDGE and was built by AmShip Toledo in 1970.