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St Helena cruise passengers stranded in the cold

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Tour ship Plancius with an ice cliff behind
Plancius was meant to be headed for the tropics (picture: Inezia Tours / Pieter van den Luit)

A tourist ship that was meant to be headed for St Helena and her sister islands is stranded instead at South Georgia, waiting for rescue.

Another vessel has left Ushuaia in Argentina to take off the 73 passengers and some of the expedition staff and crew of the MV Plancius. “There is no threat to life or environment,” said a statement from the owners.

The ship’s main propulsion system malfuntioned, leaving it with reduced power.

The web promotion for the 39-day Atlantic Odyssey said it offered “a unique possibility to visit several of the remotest islands in the world.

“Besides the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands, the Atlantic Odyssey visits Tristan da Cunha, St Helena, Ascension Island and Cape Verde. Isolated local communities can be visited.”

A statement from Oceanwide Expeditions said: “The spirit on board is – given the circumstances – good  and passengers indulge in local walks and an excursion programme organized by expedition staff.

“The ship has only very limited sailing capabilities (maximum 4-5 knots in calm conditions), which means the vessel will not be able maintain course in rough seas of the open ocean.”

A tug is due to reach the Plancius at Grytviken on 17 April 2012 and tow it to South America if it cannot be repaired in-situ. The ship is sheltered in safe position resting alongside the jetty of King Edward Point Research Station in the British overseas territory.

Passengers were meant to finish their cruise at the Cape Verde islands in early May. Instead, they will be taken to Montevideo in Uruguay, ending their holiday more than a week early.


Look on the bright side – they’re not short of ice for the drinks!

– Amy DuPrez, via Facebook

Oceanwide Expeditions: updates

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