Explorer - Sinking - Cruise ShipThe Santiago Times reports "Luxury Cruise Ship Suffers Accident In Antarctic Peninsula."

The newspaper in Chile reports that the 100 passenger cruise ship Clelia II  has been withdrawn from service following an accident that occurred over Christmas week. 

The tour operator waited a long time before announcing the incident. 

In a statement released two weeks after the near disaster, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators said that on December 26 the Clelia II arrived at Petermann Island, Penola Strait in the Antarctica Peninsula for a passenger landing when what is characterized as "a stronger-than-anticipated current pushed it toward the rocky shoreline."

Whether this is true is unknown – this is the trade organization’s spin.

It took one and one-half hours before the Clelia II‘s sister ship, the Corinthian II, arrived and attached a stern line to rescue the Clelia II.  If the incident was more serious, the passengers would be in quite a pickle.

The cruise line PR statement claims that "at no time during this incident was there a threat to Explorer - Sinking - Cruise Shiphuman life; passengers and crew were never in danger."

Does this statement comfort you?

It scares the hell out of me. 

I remember when the Explorer had a similar incident in Antarctica.  The Explorer scraped its hull.  The cruise line’s PR people also claimed that everything was OK.  But when the photographs (shown here) emerged from the incident showing the stricken cruise ship belly up in the ice in Antarctica with the passengers huddled in lifeboat terrorized, I realized that cruising in Antarctica was not your typical Caribbean vacation.  And the cruise line PR people could not be trusted. 

Numerous news sources subsequently pointed to the negligence of the captain, faulty equipment, failed inspections, a compromised hull – as well as negligent emergency protocols – as nearly causing a mini-Titanic disaster.

Trust me, PR statements by cruise lines are inherently self-serving and must be taken with a grain of salt – or a stiff scotch!

The good news here sounds like a lucky break for the passenger sand crew aboard the Clelia II.   

It will be interesting to read the official investigation reports and determine whether there was really a threat to the passengers and crew on yet another disabled cruise ship in the freezing Antarctic waters.  

December 8, 2010 Update:

The Clelia II is in trouble again – The Clelia II Skirts Disaster Again in Antarctica

Explorer - Cruise Ship - Sinking



Photographs   Associated Press (AP)

  • Naomi

    hi there, very true! Travel Dynamics PR did a really good job of covering this up. They completely downplayed the severity of this incident. I met with the travel Director after the incident and he indicated that the accident was pretty bad. They were lucky their sister ship was nearby.

    Throughout this accident though, Travel Dynamics was really awful to travel with. They were inexperienced in dealing with such a disaster! I would not recommend traveling with them to the Antarctic! They should stick to luxury destinations!

  • Don

    First, showing the very bad sinking of the Explorer in an article on the Clelia II seems unfair and bad reporting. If this accident and the line are so bad, why is the Smithsonian Institute using the ship in February, 2011 and sending its master diver with a group on a cruise in the Antarctic. Please don’t lump all Antarctic cruise ships in one lump and scare passenger away with inflammatory pictures and articles. I am only a satisfied passenger with no connection to any cruise line, company, association, or anything.

  • Lee

    Having sailed on last December’s fateful voyage, I have to say that most all the passengers felt very safe on board the Clelia II. The crew and staff were fabulous and Clelia II’s sister ship accompanied us back to Ushuaia, so that if there was a problem, we would have been quickly transferred over.

    Travel Dynamics couldn’t have been more helpful. Because of the New Years weekend, travel out of Ushuaia was next to impossible. They treated us all to great tours of Ushuaia, fed us, and put us up on the ship till we could get transportation to Buenos Aires. Once in B.A., they took care of our housing in a luxury hotel until we could get a flight home.

    It ia truly unfortunate that the ship hit such rough seas and was disabled less than one year after the last accident. But I personally resent the attacks on the shipping line, which I felt did a great job in every respect.