Deaths, Injuries on Antarctica Cruises Prompt Military Investigation

2 min

103 shares, 164 points

U.S. Coast Guard Activities Europe and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in cooperation with other international authorities, have launched investigations into multiple marine casualties that occurred in the course of Antarctica cruises late last year.

The series of incidents—in which four U.S. citizens perished and others were injured while sailing on foreign-flagged cruise ships in Antarctic waters—occurred within only a few weeks of each other, between November 15 and December 1, 2022.

The investigations include:

— On November 15, two U.S. citizens, passengers from the World Explorer, chartered by Quark Expeditions, perished while out on a Zodiac excursion near Elephant Island. The Zodiac—a motorized, heavy-duty inflatable craft that enables up-close viewing of local wildlife and natural elements—capsized while carrying six guests on board.

According to The Washington Post, Quark Expeditions said in a statement, that the tragic accident is believed to have been caused by a sizeable wave breaking against the boat. The polar adventure company confirmed in a statement Wednesday that it was aware of the Coast Guard’s investigation and would “continue to cooperate fully”.

Since the World Explorer is a Portuguese-flagged vessel, Portugal is the lead investigative state, but USCG Activities Europe—an overseas unit of the U.S. military branch based in The Netherlands—will participate as a substantially interested state, with NTSB support.

— While traveling on the expedition vessel Viking Polaris, an American citizen was injured in an accident that occurred on an inflatable boat that, according to the Coast Guard, “sustained a keel-bladder failure near Damoy Point, Antarctica.” Since Viking Polaris has a Norwegian registry, Norway is serving as the lead investigative state, with USCG Activities Europe simultaneously, “conducting a marine casualty investigation as a substantially interested state with NTSB support.”

— The same vessel became the scene of another of the calamities in question, when a rogue wave slammed into the Viking Polaris, while it was transiting the Drake Passage en route to Ushuaia, Argentina on the night of November 29, 2022. The impact substantially damaged the ship itself and killed one U.S. citizen, while causing injury to four other passengers. As the vessel is Norwegian-flagged, Norway will be leading the investigation, with USCG Activities Europe involved in its own capacity.

— Finally, a U.S. citizen died from injuries sustained aboard Oceanwide Expeditions’ Dutch-flagged passenger ship Plancius, where a U.S. citizen died of an injury they incurred onboard. Franklin Braeckman, Antarctic program manager for Oceanwide Expeditions, told The Washington Post in an email that the guest was killed by an “accidental fall” that wasn’t part of any organized activity. “Medical support was provided immediately, after which we arranged an evacuation,” he explained. “Unfortunately, however, these measures were not sufficient to change the tragic outcome of the accident.”

Officials from The Netherlands and the Falkland Islands will head up the investigation, with the United States again participating in the inquiries, “as a substantially interested state in accordance with International Maritime Organization protocols and Coast Guard policy.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, NTSB and the other international authorities involved have already deployed investigative teams to Ushuaia, Argentina—the southernmost city on the planet and gateway to Antarctica—to begin thorough safety reviews, “with the goal of improving marine safety and preventing similar tragic incidents,” said USCG Activities Europe.

Source: TravelPulse

Like it? Share with your friends!

103 shares, 164 points

What's Your Reaction?

Cute Cute
Fun Fun
Hate Hate
Confused Confused
Fail Fail
Geeky Geeky
Love Love
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format