Friday, December 5, 2008

Passengers Evacuated Safely from Expedition Ship in Antarctic

Update Dec 5, 330pm EST

The small (2,900-ton) expedition ship Ushuaia, ran aground yesterday in the Antarctic near the entrance to Wilhelmina Bay. The operator said the situation was stable and passengers were in no imminent danger. They reported that six other vessels were standing by.

According to an Int'l Assn of Antarctic Tour Operators report, the passengers have now all been evacuated from the ship to the Chilean Naval Vessel Achiles and will fly the first leg of their journey home on Saturday. The crew remains aboard the ship.

There were 82 passengers and 40 crew members onboard. Nationalities passengers of the passengers are: Belgian 1, British 7, Irish 2, German 9, French 2, Italian 3, Swiss 5, USA 12, New Zealand 1, Australian 11, Chinese 6, Dutch 14, Spanish 6, Canadian 2, Cyprus 1. Nationalities of the crew are: Argentinean 28, Uruguayan 3, Spanish 1, Chilean 8

From aerial sightings, there appears to be no visible oil leakage, although the crew reports a minimal amount has seeped from a ruptured tank but has been quickly dispersed by the wind and currents.