Passengers from the antarctic cruise ship Polar Star were set to be disembarked from the vessel yesterday at King George Island in the South Shetland Islands., according to IATO, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators.
On January 31, the vessel, with 80 passengers and 35 officers and crew on board, struck an un-surveyed rock - reported at S 66° 51.37' W 66° 47.81' - while anchoring just north of Detaille Island at the Antarctic Peninsula. The incident occurred at approximately 1130 UTC, or 0830 local time
The 86.5 m double hulled vessel, which is operated by Halifax, Nova Scotia, based Polar Star Expeditions, was given permission to proceed from that location with passengers on board to to the Polish Arctowski Station on King George Island.
It made that passage uneventfully and at normal cruising speed, according to Martin Karlsen, president of Polar Star Expeditions.
At Arctowski, divers assessed the damage to the outer hull. Following discussions with the captain and officials of DNV, the ship's classification society,the company made the precautionary decision not to cross the Drake Passage with passengers aboard.
Yesterday, arrangements were being made to transfer the passengers to other IATO member ships and take them to Ushuia, Argentina.
Once passengers had been transferred and temporary repairs made, plans were for the ship to proceed to Ushuaia with its 35 officers and crew.
February 3, 2011