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Home* News and Stories → Groun­ding of MS Expe­di­ti­on

Groun­ding of MS Expe­di­ti­on

The small crui­se ship MS Expe­di­ti­on (100 pas­sen­gers, 57 crew) touch­ed ground near Isis­pyn­ten, east of Nord­aus­t­land, on 23rd July. The hull suf­fe­r­ed minor dama­ge and took a small volu­me of water. Accor­ding to the ship owner and Nor­we­gi­an offi­ci­als, neither peo­p­le nor the envi­ron­ment were at any time end­an­ge­red. The ship could later get free and return to Lon­gye­ar­by­en with its own engi­ne power.

This was alre­a­dy the third event of this kind in Spits­ber­gen this sum­mer. On 23rd June, the „Natio­nal Geo­gra­phic Explo­rer“ ran aground in Engelskbuk­ta, south of Kongsfjord. On 10 July, the day trip boat „Polar Girl“ mana­ged to hit the bot­tom near Gru­mant­by­en.

All groun­dings took place while the ships were on sight­see­ing crui­se near the shore at low speed and final­ly went over wit­hout any serious dra­ma. Nevert­hel­ess, the­se events are most­ly unac­cep­ta­ble in are­as wit­hout com­pre­hen­si­ve SAR and oil spill faci­li­ties. (The­re are excep­ti­ons: small, strong boats can usual­ly tole­ra­te “con­trol­led” groun­dings wit­hout any dif­fi­cul­ty, this is occa­sio­nal­ly even done deli­bera­te­ly. It is more or less a dai­ly rou­ti­ne for exam­p­le for flat­bot­tom sai­ling ships in cer­tain are­as of the Dutch coast. But cer­tain­ly not by any ship remo­te­ly simi­lar to the MS Expe­di­ti­on in arc­tic waters).

A major pro­blem for the safe­ty of navi­ga­ti­on in Spits­ber­gen is the lack of good charts. The Nor­we­gi­an map­ping aut­ho­ri­ties have this year given prio­ri­ty to other are­as in main­land Nor­way rather than Spits­ber­gen. Given cur­rent working pace, it will take seve­ral gene­ra­ti­ons to map the waters around the who­le archi­pe­la­go pro­per­ly. Inspi­te of the offi­ci­al poli­ti­cal prio­ri­ty that the nor­t­hern are­as are sup­po­sed to enjoy („nor­d­om­rå­de­sats­ing“), Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties seem not to take nau­ti­cal safe­ty in Sval­bard waters important enough to allo­ca­te resour­ces for pro­per map­ping.

MS Expe­di­ti­on in Ny Åle­sund, July 2011.

Grounding of MS Expedition - MS Expedition, Ny Alesund

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten 29/2012



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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange