Expedition cruise Ultramarine must remain in total confinement at the port of Ushuaia until next Thursday, following nine positive PCR tests among the 173 strong crew. No person is allowed on board or to disembark although water and supplies have been guaranteed, as well as all the necessary health support
The vessel arrived a week ago to Ushuaia but did not dock since last Thursday when Quark Expeditions 199 passengers were scheduled to arrive in a chartered aircraft, and depart on Friday 26 November for Antarctica. But given the situation the arrival has been delayed until December first. Anyhow some staff and crew members did arrive during the week by air since they complied with all the sanitary requirements Argentina demands from all foreigners entering the country.
However last Thursday before allowing the Ultramarine to dock at the harbor, all the crew was again PCR tested with four cases positive and another four suspicious, all of them belonging to the group that boarded in Ushuaia. An additional sanitary testing to comply with local port requirements showed the presence of yet another nine positive cases, plus the previous four. Fearing it could be a viral circulation in the vessel, and to avoid further contagions, strict isolation measures were implemented.
Another PCR testing is scheduled for next Thursday to all crew members of the Ultramarine, and depending on the results, the criteria to be adopted. If there are only negative tests, the vessel will be thoroughly disinfected followed by clearance. If any of the nine positive cases persist, most probably they will be disembarked and will have to complete quarantine in a local hotel specially prepared for such situations. The expedition cruise will then be disinfected and cleared. But if more cases test positive, the confinement period for the vessel will be extended. And thus further delaying the departure of the Antarctic cruise.