A Norwegian cruise ship carrying nearly 300 passengers, including 119 Americans, ran aground on a remote Antarctic island and damaged its hull before getting free of rocks, officials said Wednesday. No one was injured.
The M/S Nordkapp got off the rocks under its own steam and sought shelter in a nearby harbor, where the 294 passengers were being transferred to a sister ship as a precaution, said Hanne K. Kristiansen, a spokeswoman for Norwegian Coastal Voyage.
She said there was no danger to those aboard or to the Nordkapp after the incident in the Southern Ocean.
Another Norwegian Coastal Vessel, the M/S Nordnorge, sailed into Walker Bay and the passengers were being transferred onto it in small boats usually used for sightseeing. The Nordnorge will then take them to Ushuaia, Argentina, a roughtly 40-hour trip.
“We are having a fine time. In fact, it is very nice,” Norwegian passenger Terje Johansen told The Associated Press from the Nordkapp earlier in the day.
He said passengers initially were nervous when the ship ran aground, but quickly understood that there was no danger.
“There is a little bit of waves, so they are waiting with the transfer. Right now, I’m in my cabin trying to get a little sleep,” he said by ship’s telephone.
The 404-foot Nordkapp, built in 1996, and the virtually identical Nordnorge cruise the Antarctic during the southern hemisphere summer. They sail off the coast of Norway during the European summer.
The company said the ship was on its way back to Argentina when it ran aground near Deception Island, which is part of the South Shetland archipelago.
It said a British warship was also meeting the Nordkapp, and would send down divers to inspect the damage to its hull and then escort the ship to port in Argentina.