Built as the BEWA Discoverer in 1976, the vessel was sold to Adventure Cruises Inc. and renamed the World Discoverer. The ship was then put on a long term charter to Society Expeditions Cruises. With a double hull construction, the vessel was classed for periodic voyages to Antarctic Peninsula region and carried a fleet of inflatable dinghies allowing passenger to move closer to ice floes for observation. During the period from November through February, the ship conducted cruises in the Southern Hemisphere and visited places like Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, Chile, Ushuaia, Argentina. While on a South Pacific cruise through the Soloman Islands’ Sandfly Passage in April 2000, she quickly, and unexpectedly, developed a 20 degree list.
Captain Oliver Kruess sent a distress signal to the Solomon Islands capital Honiara and passenger ferry was dispatched to the ship to transport the passengers to safety. All escaped without injury. The captain then brought the ship into Roderick Bay after the ship began to list 20 degrees and grounded it to avoid sinking. After an underwater survey of the ship, the World Discoverer was declared a “constructive loss” and has remained in Roderick Bay ever since. There were no reports of any oil, petroleum or other pollutant spills as a result of the impact and no reports on how much pollutant remains in her hull.
An Australian salvage company was the first to survey the scene and, quite understandbly, found the ship ransacked by the locals and other factions. The Solomon Islands were undergoing civil war and locals had salvaged all items of potential value. Now with a 46 degree list, tidal activity further damaged the ship and the salvage company backed away from the recovery leaving the ship to rust in Roderick Bay. The ship has since became a tourist attraction with the locals of the island giving unauthorized tours and cruise ships passing by for tourists to gawk at her remains.
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