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Cruise ship grounding a warning says Falklands Conservation manager.

Thursday, February 1st 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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Antartic waters not always with update ice classification Antartic waters not always with update ice classification

The grounding of a cruise liner in Antarctic waters on Wednesday appears to have been handled without damage either to the environment or to passengers, according to Grant Munro, Manager of the Falkland Islands non-governmental organisation, Falklands Conservation, which is an associate member of the International Association of Antarctic Cruise Organisations.( IAATO)

Mr Munro said that reports from IAATO agreed with those coming from other agencies that the accident to the Norwegian cruise liner, Nordkapp, which happened near Deception Island in the South Shetlands, had been relatively minor. Although it was feared that some damage had been caused to the ice-strengthened vessel's outer skin, when it touched bottom, the vessel had soon re-floated without taking on water or leaking any oil. Despite this welcome outcome, Mr Munro said that the presence in Antarctic waters of larger cruise vessels than the Nordkapp, was a warning of the dangers of navigation in an area where charts were not always up-to-date and unforeseen dangers ever present. The presence in Antarctica of very big ships without ice classification made Mr.Munro "very nervous". The Golden Princess, which left the Falkland Islands bound for Antarctica this week, is carrying ten times the 280 passengers and crew of the Nordkapp, who are now reported to be heading for Ushuaia in Argentina aboard a sister ship, the Nordnorge. Were a similar accident to happen to a ship of the magnitude of Golden Princess, it is clear that the recovery of this number of people would be very difficult and the potential for environmental damage much increased, given the quantity of fuel carried by such a large ship. It is believed by local sources in the Falkland Islands that divers from the Royal Navy's ice patrol vessel, HMS Endurance are currently en-route to the Nordkapp to assess the extent of the damage, if any, to its hull. John Fowler (MercoPress) Stanley

Categories: Tourism, Falkland Islands.

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