Oceanwide Expeditions Ends Antarctica Season Early, Citing Challenges


Oceanwide Expeditions has ended its Antarctica season early, citing challenges with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and new quarantine measures imposed by Argentinian authorities.

The company had restarted operations in Antarctica in November, with the Plancius and Hondius, with limited COVID-19 cases.

The company said it was able to isolate the risk of further infections through numerous ship upgrades as well as strict safety protocols, including required vaccinations, wearing face masks, social distancing and limiting the size of passenger groups.

"Unfortunately the increasing numbers of COVID-infections due to the new variant (Omicron), both in Argentina/Ushuaia and onboard of our vessels impacted our operations," the company said in a statement. "As a direct consequence, more passengers had to be quarantined. Also the new quarantine measures imposed by the Argentinian authorities resulted in delayed disembarkations and thus delayed embarkations. As a result of these changing circumstances, we were also concerned for the working conditions of our crew and staff.

"Taking all factors into consideration and not being able to guarantee the comfort and safety of our passengers, crew and staff, we have decided to postpone the remaining voyages of our Antarctica season with our vessels Hondius and Plancius," the company said.

Both ships are currently en route back to Europe. 

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