Friday, November 23, 2007

Another Reminder That the World is NOT a Safe Place - Antarctic Cruise Ship Hits Ice, Passengers Evacuated The advertisements went something like this.
Experience a voyage of a lifetime to a land where penguins rub shoulders with seals and orcas and whales are often seen plying the icy waters.
The reality is that you were a bit closer to those "icy waters" than you may have wanted to be.

The cruise ship M/S Explorer apparently hit some ice, and started taking on water. Passengers and crew were evacuated to lifeboats, and then transfered to a Norwegian liner. Everyone is safe, though without any of their luggage. The ships company gets a gold star for that - waters off the Antarctic Peninsula are freezing.
The U.K. agency provided the ship's emergency plans to the Argentine Coast Guard, which was coordinating the rescue, Sadler said. The Explorer is a Liberian-registered passenger explorer ship built in 1969. It has a strengthened hull, so “it wouldn't have been a small amount of ice” that pierced the structure, causing it to take on water, [Paul Sadler, a spokesman for the U.K. Maritime & Coastguard Agency] said.
The ocean is a big place, and even a cruise ship is small by comparison. We like to pretend we are in charge, but out of sight of land, the ocean is in charge.

Update: The London Telegraph has photos. It is a good thing this happened on a calm day. The Air temp was -5 degrees C, and the water temp was -1 degree C. (That's 23 degrees Fahrenheit and 30.2 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.) Salt water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.

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