MS Nordkapp Cruise Ship Grounding Deception Island Antarctica – On January 29, 2007, Hurtigruten Cruise Line MS Nordkapp, tours Antarctica and grounded on Deception Island off Antarctica. The vessel was carrying 295 passengers and 76 crew members when it ran aground. (see video below)
Passengers say the ship endured the equivalent of category 3 hurricane seas, with the ship rising 50 feet into the air, then slamming back down on the ocean, groaning all the while.
Hurtigruten Group, which owns the vessel, had been in contact with the vessel and “everything is calm on board”. Tour operator My Planet said there were no injuries aboard. However the vessel did sustain some damage.
The MS Nordkapp, built in 1997, tours Antarctica during the southern hemisphere summer during the European summer it runs off the coast of Norway.
The vessel is classified for light ice conditions.The vessel ran aground off Deception Island, part of the South Shetland Islands.
Nordkapp had nearly completed the cruise, and was on its way back to Argentina when it grounded at low speed. The vessel was able to limp into a safe harbor at Whalers Bay on Deception Island. There, it awaits a sister ship, the MS Nordnorge to pick up the passengers and return them to Ushuaia in southern Argentina. Both vessels are part of the operated Hurtigruten fleet.
UPDATE: February 02, 2007
Fuel has spilled from the damaged ship, a scientist from Spain’s base in the area said today. Fuel washed into a bay off Antarctica’s Deception Island when the MS Nordkapp, with 370 people aboard, damaged its hull on rocks on Tuesday, the scientist said.
“We can confirm that such a fuel spill occurred, given that traces of hydrocarbons have been detected on more than 5km of the interior shore of the island,” Raul Perez, a scientist at the Gabriel de Castilla base, told Spanish state radio.
Norway’s Hurtigruten Group, said they were not aware of any spill and had followed safety procedures after the vessel re-floated itself and anchored. “We had laid out oil protection equipment around the ship but we have not observed any oil spillage from the vessel,” Hurtigruten’s spokeswoman Hanne Kristiansen said.
A spokesman for the Spanish army, which operates the base on Deception Island, confirmed scientists had detected a fuel spill in the bay after the ship ran aground. He said the base had taken samples of the fuel to determine its type and source.
UPDATE: February 10, 2007 While initial media reports made it seem like this was no big deal for the passengers aboard, after passengers returned home, a light has shown the real drama the passengers experienced. Passengers say that when the ship hit the ground, it tilted the ship’s bow into a steep grade.
The double hulled ship had a severe gash in the outer hull, giving question to the ship being safe enough to venture out into open sea with passengers onboard.
Then, the passengers were picked up by the sister ship, which was full of passengers. This meant the Nordkapp passengers had to sleep on the decks of the ship. That might not have been such a bad thing, since the ship hit rough seas on the way back to port.
Video: Antarctic Rescue 31-01-07