Though the ship is built for the ice, unlike some of the larger cruise ships that have been heading to Antarctica in recent years, accidents do happen. Even the more experienced companies don't have a perfect track record. So when you see these nice little press release-type articles touting the wonders of the latest Antarctic tour package, remember that no matter how safe, Antarctic travel always comes with extra risk.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Unparalleled - it doesn't mean what you think it means
The growing tourist industry in the Antarctic has been cause for concern for ASOC for some time. As an environmental organization, we naturally focus on the environmental impacts of tourism, particularly those from ships. And as a result, we're aware of all the accidents that happen down there. So when one of our campaigners saw this article, he was quick to note that the ship mentioned, the Ocean Nova, has a little bit of a history to it. While the article notes cheerfully that "The vessel has navigated Antarctic waters with unparalleled success, including the challenging Weddell Sea," I'd have to quibble with their definition of "unparalleled." The Ocean Nova ran aground in Antarctica about a year ago. Pretty low bar for unparalleled, unless Quark Expeditions is referring to the fact that the Ocean Nova was the only ship to run aground in Antarctica in 2009. No injuries occurred, but the incident reminded us that longtime tour operators aren't immune from accidents.