S.Georgia : Cruise Ship Stranded at Grytviken for Two Weeks
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 12.05.2012 (Article Archived on 26.05.2012)
Sarah Lurcock from the South Georgia Website tells us more.
Cruise Ship Stranded at Grytviken for Two Weeks
By Sarah Lurcock (South Georgia Website)
The cruise ship “Plancius” was stranded in King Edward Cove for a fortnight after suffering the loss of her main engine. The ship was the last cruise ship of the season and made her scheduled visit to Grytviken on April 8th.
Shortly afterwards “Plancius” suffered engine problems that left her with auxiliary power only, and therefore very limited sailing capabilities making it unsafe to continue towards their next planned destination in the Cape Verde Islands. The vessel returned to anchor in King Edward Cove on the 10th whilst the ship’s engineers continued to try and mend the fault. The 36 year old ship was originally built as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy. It was bought by operators Ocean Expeditions in 2009 and refitted as a passenger vessel. Because of the ship’s limited propulsion it was decided it would be safest to tie it up alongside the jetty at KEP. Cruise ships are not normally allowed to tie up alongside for biosecurity reasons.
Meanwhile, Ocean Expeditions arranged for another cruise ship, “Ushuaia”, to sail to South Georgia to collect all 76 passengers and some crew members and expedition staff. GSGSSI has thanked Antarpply (the operator of the “Ushuaia” for their assistance. During the long wait at KEP, passengers were kept busy with a programme of walks, Zodiac cruises and lectures, and the Post Office and Museum were opened daily for a few hours. A service was held on the Sunday in the Grytviken church. Ocean Expeditions said the spirit on board was “good given the circumstances.”
The relief ship “Ushuaia” arrived on the 18th and the passengers and others were quickly transferred. “Ushuaia” then sailed later the same day en route to Montevideo, Uruguay, for disembarkation and connecting travel arrangements on April 24th.
The Chilean tug “Otway” also arrived on the 18th to tow “Plancius” to Montevideo, but would not leave for a few days until there was hope of better weather for the passage. Permission to start the tow was given by the vessel insurers on the 21st and “Plancius” was assisted off the berth and then turned in the Cove by both the tug and the two GSGSSI harbour launches, which are fitted with ‘pushing bows’. “Plancius” was then able to sail out into Cumberland Bay where rigging of the tow was completed before both vessels departed. They made good progress and arrived safely. She is expected to go into dry dock in Buenos Aires for repairs.