The 300 passengers of a cruise vessel that ran aground in the South Shetlands are being transferred to another ship from the same company and will be transported to Ushuaia, extreme south Argentina.
Last Tuesday MS Nordkapp with 76 crew and 295 passengers suffered the mishap just off Deception Island, an estimated 120 kilometers from the Antarctica peninsula. However MS Nordkapp managed to free itself under its own steam and is currently anchored in the sheltered harbor of Whalers Bay in Deception Island where the transfer to passengers to MS Nordnorge is under way. From Sydney the Australian sales agency MyPlanet on behalf of the company that operates the vessel, the Hurtigruten Group from Norway said "there is no danger to passengers, crew, the environment or the vessel. The Hurtigruten spokesperson Mr Sten Lillebo has confirmed that he has been in contact with the people on board and that everything is calm onboard" said Grez Arnott from the cruise company MyPlanet. "The weather conditions in the area are good and the situation is under control. All passengers will be transported back to Ushuaia in southern Argentina with the help of MS Nordnorge, which is also part of the Hurtigruten fleet, and other vessels in the vicinity" added MyPlanet in a statement. "The families of the Australian passengers have all been contacted this morning by MyPlanet or travel agents. MyPlanet is currently doing everything possible to help passengers and next-of-kin and to assist the relevant authorities as much as possible". Nordkapp registered in Norway was built in 1997 has a 11.386 gross tonnage, is 123 meters long, can sail at a speed of 18 knots and has a 481 berth capacity. According to the Hurtigruten group MS Nordkapp is the sister-ship to MS Nordnorge and both vessels comply with all safety requirements and are classified as polar vessels suitable for sailing in icy waters (class C), equipped with a fleet of Zodiacs for excursions