Antarctica News

22 Oct 2020

Hurtigruten Cancels 20/21 Season Antarctica Cruises

A Hurtigruten ship - Credit: Nico T./ MarineTraffic.com

Norwegian cruise ship operator Hurtigruten has decided to cancel the remaining of the Antarctica 20/21 season cruises - from January and throughout the first quarter of 2021, citing the impact of the pandemic. It will also reduce the capacity on the Norwegian coast.The decision follows Hurtigruten's announcement in September when it said it would suspend remaining cruises in 2020, with plans to resume operation in January 2021."The Covid-19 pandemic is still affecting large parts of the world and travel restrictions and quarantine requirements are wide spread and changing rapidly.

22 Oct 2020

RRS Sir David Attenborough Starts Sea Trials

(Photo: Cammell Laird )

The U.K.’s most advanced polar research ship RRS Sir David Attenborough left Cammell Laird shipyard Wednesday to commence two weeks of technical sea trials ahead of scheduled delivery to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in November.“Although the vessel’s construction is now complete, trials are a critical and final part of the program as they allow our engineers and the ship’s crew to put the vessel through its paces at sea,” said Linton Roberts, Director of Operations at Cammell Laird.

20 Oct 2020

Op/Ed: An Antarctic Marine Protected Area is Long Overdue

© Masaya Miura / Adobe Stock

Antarctica, the world’s last true wilderness, has been protected by an international treaty for the last 60 years. But the same isn’t true for most of the ocean surrounding it.Just 5% of the Southern Ocean is protected, leaving biodiversity hotspots exposed to threats from human activity.The Western Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost part of the continent and one of its most biodiverse regions, is particularly vulnerable. It faces the cumulative threats of commercial krill fishing…

24 Sep 2020

Helsinki Shipyard Lays Keel for Swan Hellenic's New Cruise Ship

(Photo: Helsinki Shipyard)

The keel laying ceremony for the first of Swan Hellenic’s two new ice-class expedition cruise ships took place in Helsinki today. This saw the first 347-ton block of the ship – newly arrived from Klaipeda, where it had been outfitted and painted – being set on the keel over coins to bring good luck in accordance with ancient maritime custom.Swan Hellenic announced during the ceremony that the ship would be christened SH Minerva in honor of the company’s first purpose-built vessel, named after the Roman goddess of creativity and wisdom.

10 Sep 2020

Rimfrost Taps Kongsberg for Krill Vessel Design and Equipment

Credit: Kongsberg Maritime

RLS PhotoNorway-based krill extraction and processing company Rimfrost has awarded Kongsberg Maritime a contract to design and equip a new 120-meter krill harvesting vessel destined for operations in Antarctica.The vessel will be built by Westcon in Norway, and Tersan Shipyard in Turkey. Westcon will complete the vessel at its facility in Norway after initial construction at the Tersan Shipyard in Turkey. It is expected that the 120m ship will be ready to begin operations in 2022.Kongsberg Maritime said that the contract has been awarded in several stages during 2020…

09 Sep 2020

Beca, Vard Marine Join NZ Patrol Vessel Project

Beca Applied Technologies Ltd, with the support of specialist naval architecture company Vard Marine Inc, have been appointed by the New Zealand Ministry of Defense as the Technical Support Partner to the Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel (SOPV) project. Beca and Vard Marine will join the Ministry’s Integrated Project Team providing systems engineering, concept design and technical logistics input for the early stages of the project as the capability is defined and specified.The SOPV project is exploring options for an ice-strengthened offshore patrol vessel for Southern Ocean operations will be navigating the large distance between New Zealand and Antarctica…

06 Aug 2020

Australia's New Icebreaker is Being Towed to the Netherlands

Three tugs guide the Nuyina along the Danube River (Photo: Damen)

Australia’s new, nearly completed icebreaker built at Damen's Galati shipyard in Romania is traveling to the Netherlands to undergo final commissioning and sea trials that had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.The Nuyina is currently under a month-long tow from Romania to the Dutch port of Vlissingen, where teams of equipment installers from Western Europe will access the new research and supply vessel (RSV) for final commissioning of essential propulsion, electrical and navigation systems…

05 Aug 2020

SCHOTTEL Supplies Propulsion for New Expedition Cruise Ship

Hondius and sister vessel Janssonius are said to be the first vessels in the world to be built according to the LR PC6 class (Photo: Meike Sjoer)

Following the delivery of the expedition cruise vessel Hondius in 2019, Oceanwide Expeditions ordered a second vessel from Croatian shipyard Brodosplit, due for delivery by the end of 2021.Hondius and the new sister vessel Janssonius are said to be the first vessels in the world to be built according to the LR PC6 class, which meets the latest Lloyd’s Register requirements for Polar Class 6 vessels.SCHOTTEL, which offers a series of ice-strengthened propulsion systems, said it has been selected again to supply highly reliable main and auxiliary propulsion units.

23 Jul 2020

Scientists Discover First Methane Seep in Antarctic Sea Floor

The white microbial mats seen here are telltale signs of areas where methane may be released from underground methane deposits. Photo courtesy Andrew Thurber Oregon State University.

Scientists have discovered an active methane seep from Antarctica's sea bed that could shed light on the potent greenhouse gas trapped beneath the frozen continent.Marine ecologist Andrew Thurber first glimpsed what a colleague described as a "microbial waterfall" during a dive in the icy waters of the Ross Sea in 2012. What looked like a superhighway of white patches on the ocean floor were clusters of tiny organisms drawn to the methane leak."My first thought was 'wow,' and I was immediately enamored with what this means for science…

15 Jul 2020

China's Polar Icebreaker Embarks on First Arctic Mission

(File photo: Polar Research Institute of China)

China's first domestically built polar icebreaker Xue Long 2 has set sail on its first mission to the Arctic, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reports.Xuez Long 2 (Snow Dragon 2) departed Shanghai Wednesday with a team of Chinese scientists on board to conduct investigations in areas including the Chukchi Rise, Canada Basin and the central Arctic Ocean, Xinhua reports. The voyage is expected to cover some 12,000 nautical miles and conclude in late September.The expedition is said to be organized by China's Ministry of Natural Resources to study biodiversity and ecosystems…

19 Jun 2020

Aker BioMarine to Raise $225M Before Listing

Krill - RLS Photo/AdobeStock

Norway's Aker BioMarine plans to raise 2.15 billion Norwegian crowns ($225 million) in a private share sale valuing it at 8 billion crowns, followed by a listing of the company's stock, its owners Aker ASA and Aker Capital said on Friday.Aker BioMarine harvests off Antarctica small ocean crustaceans known as krill, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and eaten by whales, fish, seals and penguins, and turns it into food supplements and animal feed.Arctic Securities, DNB Markets, and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) were appointed joint bookmakers for the planned transaction and listing of shares on

06 Aug 2020

Sea Trials for Australia's New Icebreaker Delayed Due to COVID-19

(Photo: Australian Antarctic Program)

Australia's newly built Antarctic icebreaking research and supply vessel (RSV) is nearly ready to be delivered, but its sea trials have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said.Construction of the ship commenced at Damen’s Galați shipyard in Romania in May 2017, and the vessel was floated out in September 2018 prior to its scheduled arrival at its home port Hobart in 2020. But delays brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak have derailed…

03 Apr 2020

Viking Launches Mississippi River Cruises

(Image: Viking)

Viking announced it will launch a Mississippi River cruise line with its first vessel, Viking Mississippi, scheduled to sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, between New Orleans and St. Paul from August 2022.Purpose-built for the Mississippi and is currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship will accommodate 386 passengers in 193 all outside staterooms.“At a time where many of us are at home, looking for inspiration to travel in the future, I am pleased to introduce a new, modern way to explore this great river.

31 Mar 2020

Carnival Brands Pause Cruises for Another Month

© Lauren / Adobe Stock

Four of Carnival Corp’s cruise lines said on Monday they would extend the suspension of all voyages by a month to May due to the coronavirus crisis that has worsened over the past few weeks.The brands - Holland America Line, Carnival and luxury cruise ship operators Seabourn and Cunard - together operate 49 ships.Carnival Corp, also the operator of two coronavirus-stricken Princess cruises, has already temporarily suspended several of its ships due to concerns over the rapidly spreading COVID-19 crisis earlier this month.“The impact of COVID-19 is affecting personal routines and businesses as

19 Mar 2020

SunStone's Ocean Victory Launched

(Photo: Ulstein)

The third ship in SunStone Ships' INFINITY series was launched on Monday at the CMHI Haimen shipyard in China.Ocean Victory, though a sister vessels to the first vessel in the INFINITY series, Greg Mortimer, the latest newbuild differs from in several ways, reflecting the flexibility of the design series, according to Ulstein Design & Solutions, who is providing the design and equipment package to this project. Ocean Victory is the second exploration cruise vessel built at the yard to feature the ULSTEIN X-BOW…

12 Mar 2020

NOAA-Viking Public Private Partnership, a Win-win for Research

RENDERING OF NEW VIKING SHIP: This rendering shows what the new Viking expedition ships will look like, including the hangar for launching small vessels. Credit: Viking

There was important cruise news in January: Viking – a premier European ocean and river cruise company - will offer two new “destination-focused travel experiences,” starting in 2022. One set of cruises becomes Viking’s first foray in the inland North American market, in this case the Great Lakes. Another set of cruises will head to the Arctic and Antarctica. Viking is building two new vessels: the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, under construction now in Norway, by Fincantieri’s VARD.In a press release Viking writes that it has created “the thinking person’s expedition.”  Indeed…

23 Feb 2020

Hurtigruten Makes History in Antarctica

MS Roald Amundsen carries passengers to 70 Degrees South in the Antarctic region, the furthest south of any Hurtigruten expedition cruise ship in the company's 127-year history. Image: Hurtigruten

MS Roald Amundsen, a battery-hybrid powered expedition cruise ship operated by Hurtigruten, has been exploring waters further south than any ship operated by the line in its 127-year history.The world's first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship crossed the Antarctic Circle and kept going, reaching the ice edge at 70 degrees south on Wednesday at 4:14 p.m. on February 19th Antarctica time."Our guests are thrilled! This is what Hurtigruten's expedition cruises are all about, pushing new frontiers and creating unique experiences for guests from all over the world.

19 Feb 2020

Measuring the Hostile Ocean Beneath Hurricanes

Fig.1: A Slocum glider from Teledyne Webb Research, en route to deployment. Credit: Rutgers University.

Unmanned Vehicles Collect Data for Improving Storm ForecastsThe influences of ocean conditions and currents on living environments are now more widely appreciated—from the Earth’s climate and severe weather conditions to fisheries and biodiversity. Sustained and widespread measurements are needed to provide essential clues for understanding the oceans, for effective monitoring of environmental changes, and for helping to clarify the long-term effects of global warming.To meet this challenge, ocean researchers have invented various types of unmanned observing platforms.

23 Jan 2020

US Icebreaker Polar Star Reaches Antarctica

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice Jan. 16, 2020, near the ice pier of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (U.S. Coast Guard photo NyxoLyno Cangemi)

The U.S. Coast Guard's sole heavy icebreaker arrived January 22 at McMurdo Station, following a 58-day transit from the United States. Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) departed its’ homeport of Seattle on November 26.This year marks the Polar Star’s 23rd journey to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze, an annual joint military service mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations, in support of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program.The 399-foot…

14 Jan 2020

Iridium Now Authorized for GMDSS Service

Photo: Iridium

Iridium Communication signed on to provide Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service.On December 19, 2019 a Letter of Compliance was signed by the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO), stating it has positively verified the operational and technical requirements as requested by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for Iridium to provide Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service. Iridium’s GMDSS service is bringing many capabilities to the maritime industry…

09 Jan 2020

Aurora Expeditions Christens Sylvia Earle

Image: Ulstein

Aurora Expeditions, the luxury cruise company that offers services to Antarctica and Arctic,  will build a second expedition ship, the Sylvia Earle, scheduled to debut in October 2021.The 126-passenger vessel  named ‘Sylvia Earle’, to honor the renowned marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer.The order comes shortly after the Australia-based company introduced its first new expedition ship in 2019, the Greg Mortimer, named for the Australian mountaineer and Aurora’s founder.The new ship is one of the vessels in owner, SunStone Ships’, INFINITY class.

02 Jan 2020

Brodosplit Cuts Steel for Expedition Ship

Image: Oceanwide Expeditions

Oceanwide Expeditions, the Dutch company specializing in expedition-style voyages to Antarctica and the Arctic, has cut steel on its newbuild, Polar Class 6 expedition ship, the Janssonius at Croatia’s Brodosplit shipyard.The design, size and 174-passenger capacity is the same as its sibling vessel, the Hondius (174 passengers) delivered in 2019, and a nearly identical size and design, the new ship will be equivalent to a 1A super ice-class ship, the line said.Completely on schedule…

15 Dec 2019

MacGregor-Equipped Icebreaker for China

Image: MacGregor

A MacGregor project team has been involved in the polar icebreaker Xue Long (Snow Dragon) 2 project for China’s 36th Antarctic expedition from the very early stage back in 2011MacGregor is working collaboratively with the he Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) project team and the Marine Design and Research Institute of China (MARIC) in Shanghai to develop different technical solutions required to enable deck handling equipment to operate effectively at temperatures of minus…

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