The vessel Ushuaia owned and run by Antarpply Expeditions grounded today at the entrance to Wilhelmina Bay, near Cape Anna on the Antarctic peninsula. Eighty-four passengers and 44 crew and expedition staff are on board the vessel and reports indicate the situation remains stable.
According to a report on CNN, there are seven vessels in the proximity of the Ushuaia and one, the M/V Antarctic Dream, is standing by at the site. Two Chilean navy vessels are en route to the Ushuaia and will transfer passengers on Friday morning. The ship is carrying nationalities from 15 countries including the Netherlands, the U.S. and Australia.
According to an incident report filed with the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) two diesel tanks were punctured and spilled fuel. It is believed that only a small amount of leakage took place before the flooding seawater sealed the tank. An oil spill barrier has been deployed, and the area will be monitored for signs of environmental impact.
Antarpply Expeditions is based in Ushuaia at Argentina’s southern tip and has been operating Antarctica expeditions since 2002. The 2,963-ton Ushuaia was built in 1970 for the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is now owned by the Ushuaia Adventure Corp.
In November last year, G.A.P Expeditions’ Explorer sank in Antarctica. Fortunately, no one was injured.