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U.S. Coast Guard, NTSB Head to Argentina to Investigate String of Antarctic Expedition Cruise Accidents

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 5857
February 3, 2023

U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board teams have been sent to Argentina to help investigate a string of incidents involving the death and injury of U.S. citizens on foreign-flagged passenger vessels in Antarctic waters.

The incidents took place between November 15 and December 1 of last year.

The Coast Guard and NTSB have sent teams to Ushuaia, Argentina, which serves as homeport for Antarctic expedition cruises, to work alongside international flag administrations and partners in investigating the accidents.

The investigations include:

  • Two U.S. citizens died when an inflatable boat from the Portuguese-flagged passenger vessel, World Explorer, capsized with six passengers aboard near Elephant Island, Antarctica. Portugal is the lead investigative state, and the Coast Guard is conducting a marine casualty investigation as a substantially interested state with NTSB support.
  • A U.S. citizen was injured when an inflatable boat from the Norwegian-flagged passenger vessel, Viking Polaris, sustained a keel-bladder failure near Damoy Point, Antarctica. Norway is the lead investigative state, and the Coast Guard is conducting a marine casualty investigation as a substantially interested state with NTSB support.
  • One U.S. citizen died, and four others were injured when the Viking Polaris was struck by a large wave in the Drake Passage while transiting to Ushuaia, Argentina. Norway is the lead investigative state, and the Coast Guard is conducting a marine casualty investigation as a substantially interested state with NTSB support.
  • A U.S. citizen aboard the Netherlands-flagged passenger vessel Plancius died from an injury sustained aboard the vessel. The Coast Guard is conducting a marine casualty investigation in coordination with officials from the Netherlands and the Falkland Islands.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those impacted by these tragedies,” said Capt. Gretchen Bailey, Coast Guard Activities Europe commanding officer. “The safety of U.S. passengers aboard ships throughout the globe is a priority for the U.S. Coast Guard. We are proud to work alongside the NTSB and our international partners to investigate these incidents and make meaningful safety improvements for worldwide passenger vessel operations, especially in unique high-risk environments like the Antarctic.”

The public is being asked to send any information about the incidents to the email [email protected].

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