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M/V Explorer sinks in Antarctica

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  • M/V Explorer sinks in Antarctica

    All over the news at the moment is the sinking of the M/V Explorer (ex - Linblad Explorer) off the South Shetland Island in Antarctica after hitting and becoming holed by an iceberg:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/antarctic/...215951,00.html

    It has long been thought an inevitability that a tourist ship would get into trouble, or become holed, flounder and possibly sink. Many have thought it simply a question of when it will happen.

    The fortunate (realatively) thing is that there were no people harmed in any way during the evacuation and subsequent rescue of tourists and crew and also that the environmental impact should be minimal as the ship sank in deep water. Had it been in shallower water, then leaking fuel oil could have caused a major environmental disaster, particularly if washed ashore. In deep water, such leaking fuel should be dissipated by wind and waves before making landfall.

    There are safety questions being asked however:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/antarctic/...215951,00.html

    Not only of the state of the ship, but of the vigilance of the crew. Avoiding icebergs isn't rocket science, but it does require a continuous high level of observation, much of which is boring and uneventful, but always vital. Modern ships very rarely hit icebergs.

    This ship when previously known as the Linblad Explorer was one of the first ever to take fare-paying passengers to Antarctica specifically for tourism and is well known in the industry and also to staff of scientific bases in the Peninsula region as a regular visitor.

    A grand old lady of the Antarctic has gone - was it bad luck or bad seamanship?

  • #2
    Re: M/V Explorer sinks in Antarctica

    Paul,
    Shame to see the old lady has sunk. I was at Stonington when she made one of her first full tourist visits to the Antarctic thereby laying the foundations for the present Antarctic tourist industry.

    I also recall the HMS Endurance managing to hit a submerged rock in Marguerite Bay in 1972 whilst on oceanographic survey. This resulted in a major gash in her hull and she made a beeline for Stonington Island where we were in the middle of building the new extension to the base. A somewhat embarrassed officer in full dress uniform came ashore by helicopter and rather sheepishly asked if they could 'borrow' as much sand, aggregate and cement as we could spare to plug the hole. The next couple of days were spend organising cargo net loads of building materials and our cement mixer for helo lift out to the ship, Rumour has it that the officer of the watch on duty when she struck was relegated to pounding the Western Approaches for the next few years as a penance!

    Drummy

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    • #3
      Re: M/V Explorer sinks in Antarctica

      A letter from Sven-Olof Lindblad, son of the "founder" of Antractic tourism Lars Eric Lindblad:

      http://www.expeditions.com/images/Ex...Red%20Ship.pdf

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      • #4
        Re: M/V Explorer sinks in Antarctica

        An account from a passenger on the ship asa it sank:

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/andywhi...7603320709953/

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        • #5
          Re: M/V Explorer sinks in Antarctica

          The report from the investigation is out now and blames the Captain and his lack of experience in Antarctica.

          The ship operator doesn't come off too well in terms of procedures for evacuation and quality of emergency equipment available.
          "Investigators said the open lifeboats were so crowded people had to stand, and one of the most damning revelations was that three of the four engines on the lifeboats did not work."

          From this summary: http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/captain-gr...plorer-si.html

          Also see The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/...r-1667532.html

          Full report here: http://www.photobits.com/dl/Explorer...l%20Report.PDF

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