MS Fram is sailing to Ushuaia, Argentina, after engine problems in Antarctica on December 28 caused the ship to drift into a glacier front at Brown Bluff and suffer damage to a single lifeboat (see photo below). There were no reported injuries to passengers nor damage to the ship itself. The ship was able to restart its engines quickly and made its way to Chilean base Frei at King Georges Island for inspection. After the inspection, the decision was made to send the ship back to Ushuaia, scheduled to arrive on January 2.
Hurtigruten takes safety very seriously and it is of the outmost importance that the ship and all safety equipment on board are in perfect condition. This includes replacement of the lifeboat and identifying and repairing the cause of the engine problems. The line has therefore decided to cancel the upcoming January 2 Antarctica cruise in order to accomplish those tasks. Approximately 240 passengers will be affected by this cancellation. MS Fram will resume her scheduled cruise departures on January 10. A compensation plan has been announced for passengers affected by the MS Fram’s recent shortening of its Antarctica sailing of December 25 and cancellation of the January 2, 2008 departure. The refund amount for passengers currently aboard is in the process of being determined with information to be released immediately after passengers are notified; in the meantime, they will be offered a 30% reduction of fares for a future sailing in Antarctic or along the Norwegian coast. Passengers booked on the cancelled January 2 departure will receive a full refund of the cruise and its components as well as 50% off future Antarctica or Norwegian Coastal sailings. Hurtigruten is making every effort to book all passengers on departures that run through February, 2008. Re-bookings with the discount must be made by April 1, 2008, are non-transferrable, and can be for 2008-2009 season.