After mentioning the Captain Khlebnikov yesterday , I thought an update was due today. The ship, an Antarctic icebraker converted to a tourist vessel, was stranded in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, with more than 100 passengers on board, just as the 2009 tourism season is getting underway.
The Examiner is reporting today that the ship sailed free of the ice this afternoon, heading out into open waters and navigating back along its intended course. The story goes on to say that the vessel was never in any danger, and was only trapped by the ice, not actually on the ice. Yesterday, winds prevented the ice from moving aside for the ship, but those winds changed today, shifting the ice out of the way, and allowing safe passage for passengers and crew. Apparently the ship will now continue its usual cruise, but will be delayed roughly 3 to 4 days in returning to port. As the article notes, these kinds of conditions are not unusual for this time of the year, but they don’t expect any further delays to the schedule.
It’s good to see the Captain Khlebnikov managed to get free without any kind of real incident. There have been too many close calls in the Antarctic waters the past few years that another one wasn’t going to be good for the industry. Hopefully this is as close as we get to a major problem all season.
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