Passengers from the MV Polar Star were expected to arrive in Ushuia, Argentina, on Sunday, February 6, 2011. They had been at the Polish Arctowski Station on King George Island after an underwater survey of the Polar Star revealed damage to the double hulled vessel's outer hull sufficient to prompt Polar Star Expeditions to decide that the ship would proceed to Ushuia with no passengers on board.
Yesterday, 42 passengers were were transferred to the MV Marina Svetaeva, operated by One Ocean Expeditions of Edmonton, Canada. Twenty additional MV Polar Star passengers were transferred to the MV Ushuaia of Ushuaia-based Antarpply Expeditions. Eight passengers were to transfer yesterday evening to the MV Expedition, operated by GAP Adventures. All three companies are members of IAATO -- the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators.
Ten other individuals shown on the Polar Star's manifest as passengers are, in fact, the ship's lecture and field staff and will return on the ship along with the 35 crew members.
Martin Karlsen, president of Polar Star Expeditions, noted his gratitude to One Ocean Expeditions, Antarpply Expeditions and GAP Adventures for making arrangements to accommodate his guests.
"We also greatly appreciate the kindness and cooperation of the passengers on the receiving ships for doubling up in cabins to make space available for the transfer of our passengers back to Ushuaia," he added.
Mr. Karlsen called the support provided by the other companies good evidence of the effectiveness of the IAATO contingency plan, one of the important facets of the association.
February 4, 2011