Rumors in the past couple of days that MARCO POLO has been in an accident are apparently true. From MercoPress
“Marco Polo” in Antarctic emergency.
The luxurious “Marco Polo” with 538 passengers and a crew of 320 had to return urgently to Ushuaia after experiencing three cracks in the hull while sailing in the South Shetland Islands.
According to reports from the Argentine Coast Guard the incident occurred over the weekend when the cruise vessel was weighing anchor, preparing to sail from one of the barren islands and the wind pushed her on to shallow waters where she suffered the damage.
In Ushuaia divers confirmed the hull had three cracks, 4, 3 and 1,7 meters long by two centimetres that were rapidly covered by welding eight millimetre plates.
Constantino Covello head of the Coast Guard station in Ushuaia said “Marco Polo” was never at risk, but “it wasn’t in condition to continue sailing, so she was repaired before heading to Valparaíso to pick up more cruise tourists”.
“The vessel has a double hull bottom that actually impeded water from entering. At no moment did the cracks endanger the navigability or stability of the vessel”, pointed out Captain Constantino Covello.
Captain Covello emphasized that the accident occurred because of the changing climatic conditions in the area and “not because of the crew’s negligence”. Apparently whatever caused the accident doesn’t figure in the area’s charts.
The accident occurred next to Livingston island in the Mac Farlane strait, an excellent position for watching seabirds and marine mammals, one of the main attractions of the Antarctic cruises.
This season “Marco Polo” will be visiting Ushuaia seven times and is expected again at the end of February with 826 visitors.
“Marco Polo” is 176 metres long, has eight decks with 425 cabins and 945 beds plus other amenities such as gym, library, casino, disco, sauna, massage parlour, jacuzzi and an open swimming pool.
It is good to hear that ship and passengers are now fine...
Doug - more and more uncertain about the future of MARCO POLO and Orient Lines especially considering the CROWN ODYSSEY situation
[This message was edited by shiploverny on February 24, 2003 at 06:59 AM.]