"Uncharted Rocks" and Other Tall Tales - Clipper Adventurer Ran Into A Charted Hazard

The Nunatsiaq News published an interesting article this morning, entitled "Clipper Adventurer Ran Into A Charted Hazard, Expert Says."

You will recall that following the grounding of the Clipper Adventurer cruise ship in the Canadian Arctic on August 27th, the cruise operator issued a press statement claiming that the cruise ship ran aground on an "uncharted rock."  The owner even went as far as to make this whopper of an excuse: "we were simply following the chart that we had and right where there wasn’t any indication that there was something in the water, there was this large rock.”

Clipper Adventurer - Ran Aground - Uncharted RockMy response in my blog last week?  "Sounds like a PR statement to explain some bad navigational skills by whomever was at the helm."

Well now the little Canadian newspaper, the "Nunatsiaq News," tells us the truth. 

“The cruise ship effectively ran into an underwater cliff,” John Hughes Clarke, head of the University of New Brunswick’s Ocean Mapping Group.  “Had they been just a few ship lengths to the east or west they would have missed it.”

The supposedly “uncharted rock” that the ship hit had been reported by the Canadian Hydrographic Service and in a Notice to Mariners issued by Coast Guard in 2007.  And it is the responsibility of the chart retailers and/or the ships officers to update their charts and note these hazards when they are issued.

Many cruise ships are heading into riskier areas, said Hughes Clarke.  “The problem is cruise ships want to go off the safe shipping lanes where there is more dramatic topography or stunning wildlife,” he said.

The newspaper also states that the damages to the ship was more extensive than initially reported.  The Clipper Adventurer’s hull had sustained "important damages and that many watertight compartments were ruptured." 

Its good to finally get the real story.

 

Credit:  UNB Ocean Mapping Group 

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Mary C. Rohr - September 12, 2010 10:00 AM

I was a U.S. passenger on the Clipper Adventurer. There was a rather violent grounding when the ship became stranded on the "cliff." However, for the approximately 48 hours we remained on board, the ship was stable, functioning normally, and the crew and expedition staff were calm, professional and placed the safety and comfort of the passengers uppermost in their priorities. At no time were there any indications that there was endangerment to the stability of the hull, which is double for icebreaking capability. The Canadian Coast Guard was exemplary in the transfer of passengers to their cutter and I have sent an acknowledgement of their performance to the Edmonton Journal. Perhaps this incident will inspire improvements in communications and pre-voyage preparations for seldom travelled waters in the magnificent Arctic. It was truly an adventure of a lifetime.

Eduard Ashanin - September 19, 2010 3:37 AM

If you refer to web-site Notice to Shipping, mentioned in the article, you find that Notice to Mariners has a number A99/10 dated September 6, 2010 i.e. after ship was grounded.

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