Saturday, November 24, 2007

Titanic Part Two

As many of you know, Hubby and I have been planning a big tenth anniversary blowout trip for next Christmas. The trip, which although not yet booked, is going to be one of the best trips we’ve ever taken and ensure that we are one of the few people in the world who can say they’ve been to all seven continents. Our plan, you see, was to take a cruise to Antarctica.

With that great idea in mind, you can imagine our bliss when we spotted this article this morning while checking out the headlines. Oh yeah, our trip is going the way of the Titanic – right up to and including the iceberg.

Rest assured, we are not going to be daunted and will still be going – assuming we get off our duffs and start planning and booking. So basically there’s a 50/50 chance.
Ship sinks off Antarctica
(CNN) -- More than 150 passengers and crew aboard a sinking ship in the Antarctic, which is believed to have collided with an iceberg, have been rescued to safety, officials said.

The Explorer finally slipped beneath the waves Friday evening, about 20 hours after the predawn accident near Antarctica's South Shetland Islands, the Chilean navy confirmed.

No injuries have been reported among those rescued after being forced to abandon the sinking vessel and travel on lifeboats in sub-zero temperatures.

The Norwegian cruise ship MS Nord Norge took the stranded passengers and crew on board, said a spokesman for Gap Adventures, which owns the sinking vessel.

The Nord Norge is now heading to King George Island, the nearest point, in the South Shetlands, the spokesman added.

Passenger ship Explorer reported problems near the South Shetland Islands, south of Argentina. The area is in a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom.

The ship was on the 12th day of a 19-day tour of the southern Atlantic and Antarctic Peninsula.

It had already been to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and was on its way to the Danco Coast, on the peninsula's tip, when the incident happened.

Capt. Carlos Munita of the Chilean navy said they received a distress call from the Explorer, saying the vessel had hit an iceberg around 10 p.m. ET Thursday.

But Gap Adventures spokeswoman Susan Hayes said it was not an iceberg but a "submerged piece of ice."
The Explorer, which carries a Liberian flag, had a number of different nationalities on board including 24 Britons, 17 Dutch, 14 Americans, 12 Canadian and 10 Australians, Gap Adventures said.

Other nationalities include Argentineans, Belgians, Chinese, Danes, French, Irish, Japanese, Swiss, Colombian, Swedes and Germans.

John Warner, a spokesman for Gap Adventures, said the captain and chief officer initially stayed on the ship to make sure everyone was evacuated and to see if they could repair the damage, but they later abandoned the ship.

British Coast Guard spokesman Fred Caygill told The Associated Press the ship had a hole "the size of a fist" in the hull.

"We believed it has been hulled, it has a hole the size of a fist and some cracking in the hull of the ship, it's taking water and it's listing about 21 degrees," he said.

The temperature in the area is said to be at around minus 5C, with a sea temperature at around minus 1C, forecasters told the Press Association.

Stephen Davenport, senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "It wouldn't take long for hypothermia to set in at that kind of temperature in the sea.

"They do get very bad storms down that way, and gale force winds especially, because there is no land in the way," he told PA.

Lt. Matt Alex from the US Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center said the boat is owned by Gap Adventures, based in Toronto, Canada.

No comments: