The expedition cruise Ultramarine from Quark Expeditions, anchored in Ushuaia Bay, extreme south of Argentina, finally was liberated after Covid-19 testing among the crew proved negative. The crew was never allowed ashore and had to wait until the Covid-19 outbreak was considered under control.
The 199 passengers that were expected on December first for an Antarctic cruise, will now have to wait until December 23rd, according to Tierra del Fuego port authorities and Quark.
The Operational Emergency Committee from the extreme south Argentine province, last Friday declared the vessel epidemiological free following negative PCR testing.
When the Ultramarine first arrived in Ushuaia on Monday, November 22, at least ten members of the crew and maintenance personnel tested positive. The vessel immediately was isolated and ordered to anchor in the bay waiting for instructions.
Those who tested positive, and contacts, were taken ashore to a local hotel, specially prepared to comply with isolation measures. Further testing found another positive case who joined the rest at the quarantined hotel.
Meantime the Ultramarine remains in the bay waiting for the first batch of passengers for the Antarctica cruise, who is expected to arrive in a charter aircraft and later driven to the port following strict bubble protocol, hopefully on December 23.
The Marshall Islands-flagged Ultramarine was built in 2020 in Croatia, has a capacity of 200 passengers and 140 crew members. She is 420 feet long, has a 70 feet beam and a 16,4 ft draft, with a cruising speed of 16 knots and is certified 1A, PC6 Ice Class. The vessel sports two onboard helicopters for sightseeing and a fleet of inflatable Zodiac rafts