Polar Issues Raised

Passengers from Orion on a Zodiac.The polar regions are seeing an increased push in demand for voyages and landings. With more ships and capacity appearing in these regions over the last decade, there is no shortage of issues at hands for the lines to deal with.

“All of a sudden we have a situation where there is a lot of interest in the Polar areas with the climate change hype,” said Sven Lindblad, president and founder of Lindblad Expeditions. “Companies are waking up and saying ‘hey we’re going to take some people to Antarctica today,’ without any prior knowledge. It would be like me waking up tomorrow and wanting to run tours in Vegas.”

Lindblad added: “It’s a very dangerous place and a lot of operators aren’t realizing that. The odds of an accident happening are only going up as more ships go down there. We’d prefer that the large cruise ships don’t go there at all; it would be a huge issue if a 2,500-passenger ship had a problem. There isn’t anything anywhere near there to rescue that number of people.”

“The IMO has guidelines, but they aren’t regulations. And being that Antarctica isn’t a country, it makes things more complicated,” Lindblad said.

“There are two big issues operating in Antarctica. First, there are the physical issues with the ships, their construction and safety, and so on. But the bigger issue is the human aspect. The crew has to have experience and knowledge of the waters. They have to make judgment calls and be able to understand the different kinds of ice.”

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) plays an important role in defining guidelines and regulations for Antarctic vessel operation. “We try to encourage our members to stay ahead of the requirements,” said Steve Wellmeier, executive director. “We suggest they adopt things like covered lifeboats and satellite tracking quickly instead of waiting.”

At the U.S. Coast Guard, Investigation Division, Lieutenant Commander Gary Koehler keeps a close eye on ships operating in Arctic waters.

“We’re fairly comfortable with the capabilities of the ships operating in the Artic, for example, the two Hapag-Lloyd ships. We meet with them before they go up there to go over their itineraries.

“They are within the IMO guidelines; they have to have standards of care, contingency planning, well established communications, and a plan in place with other vessels in case assistance is needed,” Kohler added.

The Danish Maritime Authority is also keeping a careful watch on Greenland cruising, with new guidelines suggesting local navigators on ships.
 
A fuel ban in Antarctica may be restricting some of the ships in the not too distant future. The Maritime Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) of the IMO recently approved a proposed amendment on the use and carriage of heavy grade fuel oils (HFO), including IFO-180, in Antarctica, with planned adoption at is March 2010 meeting. All signs point to MEPC adopting the new regulations, and as one insider put it, “it’s a done deal.” At press time, the new regulations were expected to come into effect in July of 2011.

“What really sped all this up was the Explorer sinking in 2007,” commented IAATO’s Wellmeier. “Suddenly people realize that since the Explorer sank, a large ship could sink too, and then heavy fuel would become a problem.”

Simon Douwes, director of deployment and itinerary planning at Holland America Line commented: “We will adapt, we are planning to carry only MGO in Antarctic waters.”

Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Fall 2009

Advertisement

Cruise News | Top Cruise Stories

Commodore Wells

Cunard’s Captain Christopher Wells Retires After 20…

Apr 13, 2021
Cunard Captain, Christopher Wells, is retiring after a 20-year career with Cunard, part of 30 years…
Ships from Princess, P&O and AIDA - all Carnival Corp. brands.

Carnival Objective: Cash Generation

Apr 11, 2021
Carnival Corporation’s first and foremost financial objective will be to maximize cash generation…
Viking Sky

The Cruise Lines That Announced Restarts This Week

Apr 09, 2021
The week of April 4 was full of exciting restart news from across the industry with 12 more cruise…
Quantum of the Seas

Here Are The Cruise Lines Operating Right Now

Apr 09, 2021
While the cruise industry stages a comeback this summer in Europe and the Caribbean, a number of…
Crystal Symphony in St.Lucia

Crystal Symphony To Sail Caribbean Itineraries in…

Apr 09, 2021
Crystal Cruises has announced that the Crystal Symphony will sail a series of 15 10-night Luxury…
The Grand Classica (Photo: Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line)

Bahamas Paradise To Resume Cruising on July 2

Apr 09, 2021
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has announced that it plans to resume operation on July 2, with…
Miami Port

Florida Files Lawsuit Against CDC to Restart Cruise…

Apr 08, 2021
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration, the Centers…
scarlet lady210

Virgin Announces UK Summer 2021 Program

Apr 08, 2021
Virgin Voyages has announced that it will set sail from Portsmouth, England in August 2021 with a…
Sky Princess

Carnival Corp: 25 Ships Operating Could Cover Pause…

Apr 08, 2021
Carnival Corporation will have nine ships operating soon between its AIDA, Costa, Cunard, Princess,…
Carnival Mardi Gras

Carnival Asking for Fair Treatment by CDC

Apr 07, 2021
Expressing some frustration with the pace of resumption of cruising in the United States, Arnold…
Arnold Donald, CEO

Carnival CEO Donald 'Very Disappointed' in CDC…

Apr 07, 2021
Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said he was "very disappointed" in the CDC's guidance…
Norwegian Jade

Norwegian: ‘No Compromise’ on Restart Itineraries

Apr 06, 2021
Getting back to cruising this summer, Norwegian Cruise Line’s trio of restart itineraries is about…
Norwegian Gem

Norwegian Cruise Line Sets Restart Plan With 3 Ships…

Apr 06, 2021
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings today announced it will restart service this July with cruises from…
Norwegian Bliss in Seattle

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Submits Plan to CDC.…

Apr 05, 2021
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and…
Norwegian Escape in Tortola

Norwegian Cruise Line Removes July and August Sailings…

Apr 04, 2021
Norwegian Cruise Line has removed all of its July and August sailings from its website as of…

Email Newsletter

Get the latest breaking cruise news. Sign up.

Cruise Ship Orderbook

104 Ships | 208,898 Berths | $62 Billion | View

New 2021 Luxury Report

Cruise Industry News Luxury Report

Highlights:

Market Overview

40+ New Ships

2021-2027

First to Recover

New Players

Full Coverage

Order Today

All New 2021 Annual

Cruise Industry News 2021 Annual

Highlights:

Entire Industry

Supply Data

All Companies

400 Pages

Digital Access

2027 Outlook

Order Today