The Panamanian flagged cruise vessel Ciudad de Ushuaia that in early December ran aground close to the Antarctic Peninsula should be ready to resume her activities in 30/40 days time according to sources from Asmar Magallanes, the yard in Punta Arenas, extreme south of Chile where she is undergoing repairs.
The 84 meters vessel with 89 passengers and 33 crew members struck ice and lost fuel while taking in some water and finally ended on a rocky sea bed with three points of support. Fortunately all passengers were rescued and safely evacuated to a near by Chilean Antarctic base and Ciudad de Ushuaia finally was able to free itself and sail back on its own propulsion to Punta Arenas, where she arrived December 18th., although at a diminished pace and closely monitored the by Chilean Navy. Since December 24th she's in dry dock and the full extent of damages has been revealed: the stern hydrodynamic bulb; some central fuel compartments and the bow bilge keels although propellers and rudder are intact. Captain Gabriel Barrios, manager of Asmar Magallanes described Ciudad de Ushuaia as a well kept and maintained vessel, below the 3.500 tons limit which the yard can operate with. "Other options for her repairs were Buenos Aires and Talcahuano, but the Argentine company decided on Punta Arenas given the good workmanship and delivery, and experience of the yard in working with Antarctic accidents", said Captain Barrios. This is not the first vessel to undergo similar repairs in Asmar Magallanes. Captain Barrios mentioned the "Antarctic Dream", another small cruise vessel; the Peruvian oceanographic research vessel "Humboldt" which demanded 45 tons of new plates, and HMS Endurance is also being prepared to be taken back to Britain. However Ciudad de Ushuaia still has to be checked for possible structural consequences of having struck ice. She belongs to an Argentine company which operates cruise travels from Ushuaia.