Breaking: Antarctic tourist ship “Polar Star” on the rocks

The Antarctic tourist ship “Polar Star” is apparently stable after striking “an uncharted” rock off Detaille Island yesterday, several hundred miles down the Antarctic Peninsula. According to Captain Jacke Majer and a press release from the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) the ship’s outer hull was breeched.

Though free of the rock and reporting no oil leak, its inner hull apparently undamaged, booms were deployed around the ship to mediate any potential spill.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the ship’s passengers are being off-loaded by the Argentine Army.

The South Atlantic News Agency MercoPress reports that the accident happened early Monday in the Matha Strait, north of 67 South, west of the Antarctica peninsula.

“Apparently the cruise vessel ran onto a non-charted rock but managed to pull itself free with no major consequences because of its double hull.

“Any rescue or salvage operation is now in the hands of the Search and Rescue coordination centre in Punta Arenas, Chile, in the framework of the Argentine-Chilean Joint naval Antarctic Patrolling.”

There are 80 passengers and 35 crew aboard the 250-foot-long, Bahamas-flagged ship, which is owned and operated by Halifax-based Karlsen Shipping.

The “Polar Star” departed the tip of South America last week for a ten-day adventure and was expected back at port in Ushuaia, Argentina, on February 6.