Update On The MV Ushuaia

Last night I posted the story about the MV Ushuaia running aground at the entrance of Wilhelmina Bay, near Cape Anna. Today, the Associated Press has posted an update on the situation.

According to this latest report, the Chilean Navy has arrived on the scene and successfully evacuated all 122 passengers on board the cruise ship. That naval vessel, the Aquiles will now deliver them to the Presidente Frei naval base in Antarctica where they will await pick-up by another ship.

The Ushuaia sent out a call for help mid-day yesterday when it struck a rock, and took damage to itโ€™s hull, resulting in a fuel leak and the ship taking on water. The AP says that there didnโ€™t appear to be any danger that it would have sunk altogether, but the damage was enough to leave the craft adrift in the Guillermina Bay.

To help prevent damage to the fragile environment in which the ship is currently stranded, the Chilean Navy positioned another vessel nearby to help with clean-up and to observe the situation first hand.

Meanwhile, the Dot Earth Blog, where I first came across the story last night, has another interesting post that examines the dangers of the polar tourism boom poses to both people and the environments in which they are sailing. You can read that article here.

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on โ€œUpdate On The MV Ushuaiaโ€

  1. Update at 1400 UTC, 8 December, 2008

    On the afternoon of 7 December, the crew of the MV Ushuaia and the crew of the Chilean Naval Tug Lautaro started to transfer 120 cm of diesel from MV Ushuaia to storage tanks of the Lautaro and 100cm of fresh water was discharged into the sea. This was done to improve the buoyancy of the MV Ushuaia. Transferring fuel off the vessel also reduced the potential for additional spillage should anything go wrong with the refloating.

    Efforts to refloat the vessel began at high tide (approximately 0400UTC/0100LT). The vessel was fully free at 0545UTC/0245LT. Escorted by Lautaro, MV Ushuaia is making her way under her own steam towards Paradise Bay. No oil has been seen leaking from the vessel while underway; however, this could be due to wind and wave action causing any fuel leaked to be rapidly dispersed. To minimize any further oil spill, fuel from the damaged tanks is being transferred into tanks that are not compromised. Once the MV Ushuaia is in the relatively sheltered waters of Paradise Bay, a further inspection of the hull will take place.

    The passenger vessels MV Ocean Nova and MV Polar Star were also in the vicinity during the refloating and ready to provide additional assistance if required.

    The passengers of the MV Ushuaia, having been flown to the port city of Ushuaia on Saturday, December 6, had a final day of activities in Tierra del Fuego National Park yesterday and a farewell gathering last night before starting their journeys homewards today.

    If you have any further questions, please let me know.

    Steve Wellmeier
    Executive Director
    International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators
    11 S. Angell St., #302
    Providence, RI 02906
    (401) 272-2152

  2. Thanks for the update Steve. Iโ€™m going to post this as itโ€™s own story shortly so that we get the word out on the efforts to protect the environment in the area and the on-going activities to selvage the Ushuaia.

    Much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

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