Visit of MV Plancius cancelled
- The following is from the official Tristan website:
The breathless quality of the reporting that attempts to make this event sound like a life-threatening emergency is from various wire service reports. The people are trapped aboard a luxury cruise ship that's docked at a British research base where I suspect they're living better than most of us, although it lacks the beach and palm trees I can see outside my window.
The King Edward Point Station is an advanced state of the art facility with everything but an indoor swimming pool. No igloos are visible in the photos:
Anguilla, British West Indies
Cancellation of Tristan visit by cruise ship MV Plancius Vessel suffers engine problems and passengers are evacuated from South Georgia
The Tristan da Cunha community are very disappointed to learn that the planned return visit of the cruise ship MV Plancius in April 2012 has been cancelled, but relieved that all aboard were safe.
MV Plancius made its maiden voyage to Tristan in 2011 during its inaugural Atlantic Odyssey voyage from Ushuaia to Ascension Island and on to Cape Verde. Aboard the ship are Expedition Team members Anna Hicks, who is well known on Tristan for her work on the Disaster Management Plan and Albert Beintema who also visited Tristan aboard Island Sky in December 2011.
Unfortunately the view depicted right will not be seen from the bow of MV Plancius in 2012
Above: Chief Islander Conrad Glass and his wife Sharon at the Netherlands naming ceremony for MV Plancius in November 2009
Left: Stamp Issue to coincide with MV Plancius's first Tristan visit during the 2011 Atlantic Odyssey
The operating company, Oceanwide Expeditions reported on its website that the voyage was interrupted on 9th April due to the vessel `experiencing an incapacitation caused by mechanical dysfunction of the main propulsion system causing a reduced propulsion power'. This fault meant that the ship had reduced sailing capacity up to a maximum of 5 knots in calm conditions which meant the vessel could not maintain its course in rough seas. Since then it has been moored alongside the jetty of King Edward Point Research Station in Grytviken, South Georgia (54°17′S, 36°30′W). It is reported that passengers, crew and expedition staff are all safe, and there is no threat to them or the environment. The company maintains that `the spirit on board is (given the circumstances) good and passengers have taken part in local walks and excursion programmes organised by expedition staff.'
The support vessel MV Ushuaia departed Mar del Plata, Argentina on 13th and should arrive at South Georgia on 18th April to take those aboard to Montevideo in Uruguay (planned arrival 24th April) and then onward travel home. Separately a tug is also travelling to South Georgia to tow the stricken vessel to port unless onboard repairs can be made locally. The 2012 Atlantic Odyssey was due to have proceeded to Gough, Tristan, St Helena, Ascension and reach the Cape Verde port of Praia on 5th May.
The 2900 tonne MV Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy then named HNLMS Tydeman. It was withdrawn from their service in June 2004 and eventually sold to Oceanwide Expeditions in 2007. She was then refurbished in 2008 as a 110-passenger vessel, compliant with the latest SOLAS regulations, classed by Lloyd's Register in London and flying the Dutch flag. She was re-named Plancius in November 2009 (see picture above right). Her officers and crew are predominantly from Murmansk, Russia, whose experience in dealing with ice at sea and the conditions to be found in the Arctic and Antarctic, is unrivalled.
MV Plancius has 53 passenger cabins, a restaurant/lecture room and an observation lounge and large deck spaces to enable passengers to see scenery and wildlife. The ship is equipped with 10 Mark V zodiacs; she has diesel electric engines which reduce noise and vibration and is ice-strengthened.
We aim to update this page as the rescue operation unfolds.