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Cruise Ship Damaged After Striking Rock In Antarctic

The 4,988-ton Polar Star, an expedition cruise ship, was damaged Monday after striking an uncharted rock in Antarctic waters.

An initial damage assessment showed the ships outer hull had been punctured. The inner hull remains undamaged. The ship is now travelling north under its own power to its homeport in Ushuaia, Argentina.

No oil was spotted, however booms were put in place as a precaution. The Polar Star hit the rock as she was anchoring just north of Detaille Island at the Antarctic Peninsula.

After receiving permission from its flag state and classification society to depart, the Barbados flagged ship is headed north under its own power to its homeport in Ushuaia, Argentina. The ship is carrying 80 passengers, including 32 Americans, 9 Canadians, and 8 Australians.

Initial inspections indicate only minor damage to the ship’s hull, however the vessels operator Polar Star Expeditions says the vessel will stop at Arctowski Station, a Polish research facility, near King Georg Island. As an added precaution divers will further inspect the hull before the ship makes the long journey through Drake Passage.

“MRCC Chile and MRCC Punta Arenas have been informed of the plan, and will continue to actively monitor the situation, as will other IAATO passenger vessels in the vicinity of MV Polar Star,” said The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) in a statement Tuesday.

IAATO also reports that weather conditions in the area are good and will remain that way for the next few days.
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Photo courtesy of Polar Star Expeditions