OrteliusLast weekend, the Artic expedition cruise ship Ortelius experienced an engine failure in Hinlopenstretet, near Vaigattøyane, and had to be towed’ back to Longyearbyen, according to a newspaper in Norway.

Svalbardposten.reports that the Oceanwide Expeditions ship was sailing south through Hinlopenstretet, with 39 crew members and 105 passengers aboard, when it sustained an engine failure.

Engineers from the Netherlands were helicoptered out to the Ortelius on Saturday night in order to work on the ship’s engine, and reportedly were working on the engine while it was under tow to prepare the ship for the next trip scheduled this week.

According to the Maritime Executive, the ship was built in Poland in 1989 and originally named Marina Svetaeva and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science.

Photo credit:  Gatorsaver911 – (taken by passenger Allen Powell of the Marina Svetaeva in Antartica. CC BY-SA 3.0,, commons / wikimedia).

  • Axel Krack

    That’s a permanent risk for all ships they enter the polar seas. If you as master or expedition leader go a higher risk, you become a serious danger situation. The problem with passenger ships in this water was just discussed couple of weeks ago.

    I hope, there are more restrictions in the future for cruise ships, in the North and South. I know the the upcomming problems very well, I worked many years in this regions for different companies – also on Ortelius as well. I’m still waiting for an serious accident – it will come – I’m sure.