Thursday, September 18, 2008

Big Fine for Unsafe Polar Tour Operator

As tourism to polar areas becomes more popular, it is important to remember that traveling in these areas can be dangerous if tour operators do not adhere to safety standards. One company conducting tours in the Arctic Circle near Svalbard, Norway, Oceanwide Expeditions B.V., was recently fined by the governor of Svalbard for unsafe practices that resulted in the injury of 23 people. The ship had traveled too close to a calving glacier, and passengers were struck by water and ice. These actions violated Svalbard regulations concerning tourist activities in the area. Similar dangers to passengers exist in the Antarctic. Oceanwide was fined 800,000 Norwegian kroner, just over $140,000 U.S. dollars.

This incident, like the sinking of the tourist vessel the Explorer in the Antarctic last year, underscores the necessity for high safety standards for tourism in polar regions. While both of these regions provide stunningly beautiful scenery, the surrounding ice and glaciers present unique challenges for ships, and ignoring the seriousness of those challenges will only result in more accidents and injuries.

1 comment:

Rune said...

Hi there,

Just thought I'd say that I've enjoyed having a look through the articles on your blog.

Very interesting.

It's a good thing that someone is keeping us informed.

Best wishes