Cruise Ship Sinking

Cruise Ship Sinking
MV Clipper Adventurer Grounding August 27, 2010

Adventure Travel MV Clipper Grounding Canadian Arctic Northwest Passage with 129 passengers and 69 crew

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MV Clipper Adventurer Grounding August 27, 2010

Adventure Travel MV Clipper Grounding Canadian Arctic Northwest Passage with 129 passengers and 69 crew

The MV Clipper Adventurer, owned by Mississauga (Toronto) Ontario, Canada cruise company Adventure Travel. was sailing with a precious cargo of 198 souls including 129 passengers aged 15 to 90 and 69 crew members when she grounded sailing at 13.5 knots in ten feet of water on a charted shallow draught area, 55 nautical miles east of Kugluktuk in Nunavut, Canada, on Coronation Rock in Coronation Strait within the Coronation Gulf.

Coronation Gulf lies between Victoria Island and mainland Nunavut in Canada. To the northwest it connects with Dolphin and Union Strait and thence the Arctic Ocean; to the northeast it connects with Dease Strait and thence Queen Maud Gulf. To the southeast lies Bathurst Inlet.

The town of Kugluktuk, population 1,400, received the cruise ship victims in distress shortly after midnight on August 29. The group of passengers landed at Kugluktuk, where they awaited a charter plane. The town has a 5500′ gravel air strip that is used to connect Kugluktuk with rest of the world.

Around 1100 hours passengers began on their way to Edmonton, Alberta where each would begin their trip home to tell their tale of being stranded in the icy Arctic waters after a refloat of the cruise ship was unsuccessful.

The small village had their work cut out for them when the first victims arrived around 0130 hours in the morning. The community, a fishing village, was nearly empty as everyone had put to sea to begin their day of fishing.

The Coppermine Inn , located at 4 Amagok Street, which also has the village's only restaurant, answered the Canadian Coast Guard's call for assistance and managed the evacuation reception. The Inn is located near the harbor, where many fishing boats dock. The Enokhok Inn located at 2 Saddleback Street, also pitched in with blankets and pillows.

People were arriving in groups of ten on a barge, landed at the shoreline lit only by the light of vehicles, then were shuttled by bus to the community center where the town had managed to assemble some pillows and blankets.

The bonus in this small Arctic village is the entire town is blanketed with wireless Internet, making it easy for tech savvy travelers to keep in touch with loved-ones back home.

On September 1, 2010, a second grounding took place. Somebody was not babysitting the fuel tanker MV Nanny's helm, when she ran aground in Nunavut, loaded with 2,378,000 gallons of diesel fuel near the community of Gjoa Haven a village on the Beaufort Sea in western Nunavut.

The Nanny is owned by Coastal Shipping Limited, a subsidiary of Newfoundland-based Woodward’s Oil. The company provides fuel supplies to Labrador coastal communities and Nunavut. The Nanny was bringing winter oil to the community.

Both owners of the two ships claimed their groundings were the result of "uncharted rocks", a claim that is untrue. The truth is the area they grounded in were not updated on the ship's navigation, a sloppy move by both companies.

The Arctic and Antarctic are both rapidly changing environments. The water depth is constantly changing and this requires constant updating by the companies who sail those waters. It is the cost of doing business, safely.

Both companies are currently working on salvage plans to deal with the dilemma they find themselves facing. Clipper Adventurer has numerous areas of the ship that have flooded, ensuring if an attempt is made to pull the vessel off the sea bottom, she is likely to flood even more, list even more severely and ultimately be stuck in the Arctic for some time to come while her fuel is pumped out in an attempt to limit the damage to the environment.

While the Nanny has a bonafide reason for sailing the Arctic, bringing in emergency supplies, the frivolous voyage of the Clipper Adventurer can not be justified.

There is one other newsworthy event that took place in the Northwest Passage this month, Officials with the Canadian Coast Guard confirmed that the Octopus filed plans to attempt the Northwest Passage at the beginning of the month. The $100 million, ice-strengthened, mega yacht Octopus is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Residents of Pond Inlet at the northern tip of Baffin Island say that they can't remember the last time a yacht cruised by. The risky trip is not something most large private, pleasure vessels owners are willing to tempt fate with.

Residents say that nobody from the Octopus came into the village for the five days the ship sat anchored off the coast, the town not receiving a single Canadian penny from those aboard before the ship left on Labor Day. Maybe Allen was checking on the wireless signal of the village. Though, perhaps he was downloading new navigational charts after hearing about the Clipper Adventurer and the Nanny groundings.

Other Recent Cruise Ship Groundings

  • MS Amsterdam Loses Anchor - Thursday, May 20, 2010
  • Ocean Nova - Tuesday, February 17, 2009
  • MV Ushuaia - Thursday, December 4, 2008
  • Spirit of Glacier Bay - Monday, July 7, 2008
  • MV Princess Of Star - Saturday, June 21, 2008

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  • Cruise Tourism in Polar Regions: Promoting Environmental and Social Sustainability
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