In what has become an increasingly familiar story, another Antarctic cruise ship has run aground, this time on the rocks in Marguerite Bay, along the Antarctic Peninsula. According to this dispatch from Quark Expeditions, the M/V Ocean Nova is still sitting on the rocks, with its 106 passengers on board, waiting for the high tide to come up and dislodge them, so they can continue their voyage. At this time, there doesn’t appear to be any damage to the hull.
According to this story over at The Adventure Life, high winds forced the Ocean Nova onto the rocks, where it still sits after one high tide has come and gone, without the ship breaking free. The next high tide was expected to come at midnight local time, but there has been no word yet if that attempt was successful either.
In a post to his blog this morning, Jon Bowermaster shares his doubts as to whether or not the ship will be able to break free with the tide. Jon was in Marguerite Bay twice this past December, and says that it will take unusually high tides to free the ship, in his opinion. As events unfold south of the Antarctic Circle, watch his blog for more updates and information.
Fortunately, the ship has been inspected, and doesn’t seem to be leaking fuel at this time. The power onboard is still functioning, and the passengers and crew are going about their normal business, albeit while stuck on the rocks.
But this story is another reminder that we’re playing on borrowed time in the Antarctic. We’ve had too many stories just like this one in recent years, and I feel that it could be only a matter of time before something tragic happens.
I’ll post updates as I find them.
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