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"Explorer Ship Down"

On The Scene Off Antarctica

Feature Date: Nov. 23, 2007

Event Date: Nov. 23, 2007

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On The Scene -- Off Antarctica

 A 2007 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

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"Explorer Ship Down"

On The Scene

Terror Off Antarctica

The Death of M/V Explorer

A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Date: Nov. 23 2007

The Time: 0315 LT

The Place: Off Antarctica


M/V Exploer In Better Days

Vessel Name - Explorer

Vessel Nickname - 'Little Red Ship'

Type of Vessel: Explorer cruising

Built: 1969

Operator: G.A.P. Adventures -- stands for Great Adventure People

Flag - Liberia (Canada)

Crew: 55

Overall Length:


Gross Tonnage: 2,600 tons


Vessel Appointments (per cruise line):

• Lounge & Onboard Library

• Lully Outfitted Lecture Hall

• Small Gym, Sauna & Pool

• All Cabins With Private Bath & Outside View

• Dining Room Serving Int'l Cuisine

• Medical Clinic & Onboard Doctor

• Gift Shop

• Topside Observation Deck With 360-degree Unobstructed View

Double, Ice-Hardened Hull Ice Rating 1A1 ice A

• Large Fleet of Zodiacs With Clean 4-Stroke Engines


PROLOG >> It Is Past Midnight On November 23, 2007 -- We Are Taken Back Some 95 Years To April 10, 1912.

A Passenger Vessel Sails Through The Night In Ice Infested Waters. Lookouts Are Posted. This Is A Pleasure Cruise of Exploration -- The Passengers Having Just Toured The Falkland Islands.

Suddenly -- At About 1am Local Time --Collision!

The Story Is A Tragically Familiar One With Memories of RMS Titanic -- Except This Time We Are Not In The North Atlantic.

This Time We Are In The South Atlantic -- Aboard The Proud M/V Explorer -- Nearing Antarctica.

Passengers Are Startled From Their Beds By The Ship's Alarm -- They Will Now Face A Singular Terror At Sea -- A Sinking Vessel On The High Seas -- Within Ice Floes In Frigid Waters Where Survival Is Measured In Minutes. A Holiday Cruise Turns To Terror.

Will The Result Be Different From 1912? Witnesses Describe "A Frightful Scene."

READERS NOTE: This Feature Is A Work In Progress -- As The Event Is Still Happening While We Are Scrambling To Post This Material For You. We Will "Fill In The Blanks" In Coming Days.

Michael S. McDaniel - Your Editor

M/V Explorer -- At Home In The Ice For Over 30 Years

Fitted With A Double, Ice-Hardened Hull Ice Rating 1A1 Ice A  

The First Passenger Vessel To Navigate The North West Passage In 1984 

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 23 2007 -Tragedy Off Antarctica

ALERT>>>2400 gt passenger M/V Explorer (built 1969) ran into trouble about 0524 GMT Nov. 23, near King George Island in the Antarctic Ocean began sinking after she hit ice, near the South Shetland Islands. About 100 passengers & 54 crew members have been evacuated and are in lifeboats. Capt. the Chief Officer remained on board the vessel until everyone was evacuated. The vessel is owned by Toronto-based GAP Adventures. M/V Explorer hit a lump of ice off King George Island this morning and the impact left the vessel with a crack in the hull the size of a fist. Weather conditions were "fairly good" for this time of year, but it would be cold. Liner about to sink. The vessel had a 30 degree list. A rescue operation is being co-ordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard in Norfolk, Virginia, with the authorities in Ushuaia, Argentina. M/V Antarctic Dream, which is in the area, has been diverted to help the rescue. GAP Adventures said 23 Britons, 17 Dutch, 10 Australians, 13 Americans & 10 Canadians were among the passengers -- remaining nationalities of the rescued tourists are Irish, Danish, Swiss, Belgian, Japanese, French, German & Chinese. M/V Explorer was the 1st custom-built expedition ship -- known as the 'Little Red Ship' to aficionado, she became the first passenger vessel to navigate the North West passage in 1984 and was involved in rescue of crew from Argentine cargo vessel off Anvers Island, Antarctica, in 1989. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen and our Correspondent A. Griffiths (Fri. Nov. 23 2007 am)

M/V Explorer Hit The Ice about 3am In The Bransfield Strait Off King George Island

96 km (60 miles) From The Antarctic Peninsula.

M/V Explorer Seen In Distress By The Chilean Air Force

M/V Explorer In An Isolated Part of The World --

-- Taking Water --

The Capt. Makes The Decison To Abandon Ship

Orderly Lifeboats Away From M/V Explorer -- Adrift In Icy Waters Where Survival Is Quite Measured

The 12th Day of A 19-Day Tour Could Be Their Last

Capt. & First Engineer Remain Aboard As Passengers Make Distance From M/V Explorer
Survivors Adrift For 3 to 4 Hours In Life Boats --

Passengers Deal With Fears That Would Test The Most Experienced Mariners

Until Rescue By Research Vessel M/V National Geographic Endeavour -- From Over The Horizon

Then Some Passengers Transferred To A Large Norwegian cruise liner M/V Nordnorge.

When The Photo - Above - Is Converted To Black & White --

This Could Well Be The Grim View That Confronted The Bridge Watch of RMS Carpathia at 4am On 4 Oct. 1912

RMS Carpathia Saved 705 Survivors of RMS Titanic That Fateful Day

Not Unlike The Suvvivors of M/V Explorer -- In Open Lifeboats Adrift In The Ice

The Survivors of Both Vessels Had Suffered Hours In Fear & In Frostbiting 20 Degree F Conditions.

M/V Explorer -- Abandoned -- Near Her Nemesis

An Empty Life Boat of M/V Explorer Has Done Its Job.

M/V Explorer At 30 Degrees And Fighting For Her Life

A first-hand account from a Canadian crewmember with the Norwegian cruise liner M/V Nordnorge that answered M/V Explorer's distress call early Nov. 23.

Taylor Echlin, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, describes the 'frightful' sight that greeted him during the rescue of ship's passengers. The real story, he told in an email, sent from M/V Nordnorge on Nov. 23 2007.

M/V Nordnorge's Taylor Echlin Recounts The Rescue Efforts of Nov. 23, 2007 In The Antarctic --

"Hi everyone:

This is the email you all want to receive. I'm going to tell you about the rescue at sea of the passengers of the M/V Explorer by the crew of the M/V Nordnorge.

Friday morning, Nov. 23 ... By 0600 I'm up -- shower and shave, put on brand new clean clothes ... and then tidy up the cabin for our cabin steward.

As I leave our stateroom there is an announcement by Franze over the PA system --

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry to wake you at this early hour, but there's been a change in our day's plans. We are rushing to the rescue of a sinking ship. We will be there shortly. Please do not use decks 5 and 7. We need to keep those decks clear so our crew can do their proper work, and effect the rescue. We will provide you with more information later."

I re-entered the cabin, got dressed properly for being outside, and picked up my camera....

Here's what happened on the M/V Explorer the previous night -- the ship had about 100 passengers, 8 Expedition leaders, and 50 crew. M/V Explorer was plowing through an enormous ice floe. ... Some time around midnight -- just as they were about to exit the ice floe -- the ship plowed into the very last growler which punctured a fist-sized hole in the starboard side. The ship started taking on water.

The passengers were sleeping in their cabins on Deck 3. One fellow woke up at the sound of the ice hit -- and heard trickling -- like a tap was running. Soon there was water on his floor. The passenger went to find a crew member -- who came down, tasted the salt water, and knew immediately that they had a problem. Soon water was flooding the third deck -- and the passengers started clearing the floor of their belongings. ...

The Captain Ordered Everyone To Their Muster Stations. ...

Sometime around 0100 the Captain gave the "Abandon Ship!" order. ... The ship was listing badly at that time. The crew had trouble lowering the lifeboats -- as the electricity had now gone out. ... The engine compartment crew could not start the diesel engine that ran the lifeboat system -- allowing the boats to be lowered -- so they had to hand crank the diesel fuel pumps and hand crank the engine to start it. The order of events doesn't quite make sense -- as the engine room would be below Deck 3 -- but I'm just repeating what passengers told us.

There were only 4 lifeboats -- with (a few) black rubber expedition dinghies. ... Many of the M/V Explorer lifeboats took on water over the side. One lady was totally soaked. When she came on board the M/V Nordnorge -- she emptied her boots filled with water into a toilet.

'A Frightful Scene'

The lifeboats drifted away from the M/V Explorer for four hours during the night -- first light was before 0300. When our ship came upon them -- the lifeboats were scattered around the sea. The M/V Explorer passengers told us the most beautiful sight they ever had seen were the floodlights of the M/V National Geographic Endeavour coming toward them from the horizon. The M/V Nordnorge appeared shortly after -- and as both ships approached the stranded passengers -- they all quipped that they wanted to be rescued by the bigger, more luxurious ship -- which was ours.

You simply cannot imagine the frightful scene that greeted us when we went out on deck. The four lifeboats filled to capacity with wet, tired, scared persons were being towed towards our ship by the black rubber dinghies. The M/V Nordnorge rescue crew (was) in the Polar Cirkel boats, as well as our super fast rescue launch -- organizing the rescue from the water.

I took hundreds of pictures. It was a truly awful sight -- but they were going to be rescued. Two techniques were being used.

The M/V Nordnorge had lowered 2 of our life rafts to the water -- where they were secured as best possible to the side of the ship. The M/V Explorer lifeboats were brought alongside our life rafts -- the passengers were then transferred from their lifeboat to our life raft -- and our life raft was then lifted up to the deck 5 muster station -- where the rescued passengers were offloaded.

The second technique was to offload passengers from the M/V Explorer lifeboats to the M/V Nordnorge's Polar Cirkel boats -- and then bring them to our ship for offloading.

The M/V Nordnorge rescue crew was extremely well trained. They completed the rescue in a very timely fashion -- using the two techniques to make the rescue faster. They were as competent as they could be -- and I'm absolutely certain that they were kind and compassionate too.

The entire rescue was completed by about 0730. What was left floating in the water were four empty lifeboats, and the six black rubber expedition dinghies. That was an eerie, lonely sight.

Inside The M/V Nordnorge

M/V National Geographic Endeavour was standing by to offer assistance if needed -- but our Captain completed the rescue with his own crew. We then slowly made our way to the M/V Explorer. What a sad looking little ship it was -- listing to starboard with its deck rails in the water. We stood by -- with our Captain getting the M/V Nordnorge to within 100 feet or so of the sinking ship.

Inside the M/V Nordnorge -- our crew and medical staff were tending to the rescued passengers -- who were all placed in the comfortable salons on Deck 7. Fredericke (one of our expedition leaders) made an announcement that these woeful M/V Explorer passengers were wet and cold. If any of us would offer to give up some of our clothes -- that gesture would be a good start to the recovery of the rescued passengers. George and I immediately went to our cabins and brought up two armfuls of clothes -- just freshly washed. We gave away socks, underwear, long underwear, shirts, pants, and sweaters. We were about 5th or 6th in line to give Fredericke our bundles -- and the long line-up behind us took probably half an hour to clear.

M/V Explorer passengers then were welcomed on board the ship by Franz -- our expedition leader. They were invited downstairs to have breakfast -- and many of us greeted them as they walked down the centre ship's staircase. They were in total shock -- many looking dazed and disoriented. One man said he was wearing donated socks, pants, shirt, sweater, and some lady's underwear. They were just so glad to be aboard our ship -- and our warm welcome made them feel so much better.

As they walked through the salons in Deck 4 -- they looked out the viewing windows at their wounded, listing, and sinking ship --M/V Explorer. All the emotions you could imagine were vented out by the passengers. Many were on their second or third expedition on that ship -- and had loved it dearly and felt secure. Others damned it, and were too upset to see it again from the safe vantage point of our ship.

Back outside, the M/V Explorer continued to take on water. A Brazilian Navy patrol boat was steaming to the scene -- and we stood by until they arrived. The rescue had taken place in absolutely perfect conditions -- winds of 5 knots, and calm seas. Two hours later the winds were picking up -- and M/V Explorer was drifting quickly towards and enormous ice floe. It was perhaps only 500 meters away from the ice when the M/V Nordnorge departed the scene. ...

Back on board -- our crew did three separate checks of the passenger list from theM/V Explorer. There were 15 people unaccounted for -- but they had made their way to various parts of our ship -- and soon Franz announced that all passengers, expedition leaders, and crew were accounted for and safely on our ship. There was a hearty cheer and applause on board from our passengers.

During the day we met with and talked to the rescued voyagers. They were a much younger crowd than on board the M/V Nordnorge. Their expedition leaders and their ship's doctor were in their early 30s. ...

The rescue was made in Antarctic Sound -- which is about a 2- to 3-hour sail southeast from the South Shetland Islands. Our Captain steamed back to the South Shetland Islands as there are both Chilean and Russian scientific stations on King George Island. There is an airstrip there, and facilities that will accommodate the offloading of the M/V Explorer voyagers. ...

Difficult Weather Conditions

When we arrived at Maxwell Bay at 1330 -- the weather had really deteriorated. We have 40 knot winds, & driving snow -- which stings the eyes. The logistics to be worked out must have been enormous. Where to put up the passengers? How to feed them off the boat? How to pick them up and transport them away from the Antarctic? Where to take them? How to get them home? Who will pay for all of this?

...At 1415 Fredericke announced to us that humpback whales were breaching on the starboard side. Much picture taking outside in the gathering storm.

By 1630 the gale has reached maximum strength -- it is hard to walk on deck. The snow has formed icy patches - and we tread carefully. The Captain runs the engines in forward at 0.5 - 1.0 knots, also using the bow thrusters to keep our ship in the same position. We are only 50 feet from a large blue white iceberg -- heading straight into the wind.

The decision is made to offload the passengers. Each person will be fully dressed for warmth, and will wear their own survival gear plus our ship's survival suits. Only eight persons at a time will be taken by Polar Cirkel boats to the landing -- where we will then need our survival suits for the next batch. It takes until 2030 to complete the offloading. We say goodbye to each boatload -- and talk to them throughout the afternoon. The weather station gets too busy -- and there is a lull in the offloading at dinner time. Our rescue crew must be cold and exhausted -- and they need a break too.

By the time the operation is completed -- the weather front has mostly passed, and winds are only about 20 - 25 knots. The M/V Explorer passengers are now safe -- they will get home some time -- and no one died.

Our Captain heads the M/V Nordnorge back to sea -- and we steam to our next destination.

What will happen next?
Much love
Taylor Echlin "

Thanks Taylor! We are thankful you are safe and for your great narrative. Please send us the pictures from that camera when you have a chance.

Observers Aboard Research Vessel M/V National Geographic Endeavour Assist Other Passengers Who Could Not Be Transferred Directly From Lifeboats To The Rescue Vessel-- Cruise M/V Nordnorge.

The Remaining M/V Explorer Passengers Are Helped From Lifeboats By The Chilean Navy

They Had Paid US$8,000 Per Cabin For The Most Frightful Experience of Their Lives

The Fright Will Last The Rest of Their Lives

Passengers Make Their Way Across An Ice Floe To Chilean Base Rey Jorge (King George) On King George Island

Survivors Are Happy To Be Alive -- This Is Not The 1912 Result

Chilean Navy & Air Force Personnel Ferried 84 people To Chile's Eduardo Frei Military Base --

-- And The Remaining 70 To Uruguay's Artigas Military Base, Both In Antartica, For An Overnight Stay.

From Our Reader - Nov. 26 2007
I have just reviewed your emerging story on the loss of M/V Explorer and please note that I think the captions on the last 2 passenger rescue pictures mistate an important fact. They do not show passengers being helped on to an ice floe, they actually show Chilean staff members from the Chilean Scientific Base on King George Island assisting passengers ASHORE after leaving the rescue vessel which has transported them to the Base from the wreck scene.

I serve as Ice Pilot for Holland America Line and will be taking M/V Rotterdam to this same area of Antarctica for 3 voyages starting at Christmas, 2007 until Feb., 2008. I know the area very well indeed and particularly the hazards of ice navigation after a career of over 50 years of ice navigation, including 21 years in command of Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers.

Captain Patrick R.M.Toomey, Canadian Coast Guard (retired)

All This Caused By A "Fist Size" Punture -- To A Double, Ice-Hardened Hull Ice Rating 1A1 Ice A

M/V Explorer At 40 Degrees. The End Is Near

M/V Explorer Was Built With A Double, Ice-Hardened Hull Ice Rating 1A1 Ice A  

Were The Watertight Doors Not Closed -- To Allow Quick Flloding?

Shipping Water Over The Starboard Side -- Time Is Short.

M/V Explorer -- The Champion of Antarctic Waters Struggles

The Weather Worsens -- The Ice Pack Closes

M/V Explorer -- The Champion Is Imprisoned 

The Antarctic Sea Now Has Surrounded M/V Explorer -- As If A Shroud

Last Photo -1969 - 2007

M/V Explorer Is Below -- Her Last Cruise

Empty Lfeboats Now Mark The Grave of M/V Explorer  (see below)

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 24 2007 -The Passengers Go Home

A Chilean military aircraft arrived Nov. 24 in Antarctica to pick up rescued passengers of M/V Explorer which hit an iceberg & sank off the frozen continent. The Hercules C-130 aircraft landed around 2:30 pm (1730 GMT) at the Chilean Antarctic base on Rey Jorge (King George) Island where the evacuees were gathered after the dramatic mishap, Chilean media reported. The craft earlier departed at 12:20 (1520 GMT) from the Punta Arenas airport, some 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) south of Santiago, to ferry about half the 154 passengers to South America after they spent the night on military bases in Antarctica. Weather permitting, all the passengers were expected to be evacuated out of Antarctica by Nov. 25 morning, Chilean officials said.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 25 2007 - Out of Antarctica

The remaining 77 survivors of the cruise ship M/S Explorer, which hit an iceberg before sinking in the Antarctic, arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile. One hundred passengers and 54 crew members were rescued from lifeboats after M/V Explorer, owned by Toronto-based G.A.P. Adventures, was damaged Nov. 23.

The survivors, who were taken to King George Island off the northern coast of Antarctica, were flown to Chile over a 2-day period, G.A.P.

The 75 passengers & 2 crew who arrived yesterday were awaiting flights for their next destinations, while those who landed today were taken to hotels. G.A.P. Adventures will pay for their transportation & give them refunds for the trip, which was on the 12th day of a 19-day tour of the southern Atlantic and Antarctic peninsula

From Our Reader - Nov. 28 2007 - Seamanship Questoned

Maritime experts told "The Scotsman" that M/V Explorer must have suffered other damage to have listed so quickly, first by 25 degrees, then by 30-40 degrees.

They said this could suggest other holes, or problems with the 2,400-ton vessel.

Dr Claude Daley, a polar-ship expert at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, said: "The ship should not have listed so much with such a small hole, which looks like it may have been made by rock rather than ice. There may have been deficiencies with the watertight doors." He also stated that her ice rating was the lowest classification.

Five faults, some involving the watertight doors, which should have contained the water flooding in, were found in an inspection of the Explorer in Greenock in May. Toronto-based Gap Adventures, which operates the vessel, said that they had been repaired.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspection found 5 faults, missing search-and-rescue plans and lifeboat maintenance problems. Watertight doors were described as "not as required", and fire-safety measures also attracted criticism. The agency said the faults had been fixed before the vessel sailed.

It is understood that Chilean inspectors found 6 deficiencies during an inspection in Puerto Natales in March. These included two related to safety of navigation. However, a passenger safety certificate was issued for the vessel last month."

My own thought is that she went down owing to understaffing endemic to the cruising industry. Repotedly, a passenger notified the crew of the sound of rushing water. Soon after his feet were in water. This suggests that the leak went undetected for too long. How many engineering staff did she have. Was anybody on duty in the Engine Room? There must not have been if the water rose to a level which killed both the generator and the engines.

We should not let an heroic rescue overshadow what may be gross negligence.

Ron Rogers - Washington, NC

From The Cargo Letter- Dec. 12 2007 - Cause of Loss Questioned - Was There A 2nd Collision?

Experts pick apart the theory that M/V Explorer, which sank Nov. 23 in the Antarctic, was damaged by ice. People familiar with the Antarctic tourism industry weren't surprised that a cruise ship sank there. What stunned them was that the ship in question was M/V Explorer, a veteran of the polar cruise ship trade, purpose-built to operate in extreme polar environments, and manned by an experienced crew.

That M/V Explorer sank during what appears to have been the most routine of circumstances cruising through young pack ice in mild weather has experts scratching their heads. "I'm totally shocked and surprised," says Leif Skog, who was captain of M/V Explorer for six years in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. "She was just outstanding in her design, perfect for ice navigation. It's very unlikely that pack ice caused this."

Jim Barnes, executive director of the Washington-based Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, which monitors tourism and other activities, concurs. "To think [M/V Explorer] could sink in less than 20 hours from a relatively modest incident is very surprising," he says. "It makes you wonder if something else happened, because it really doesn't add up." Indeed, the initial explanation of the ship's sinking on Nov. 23 that it struck submerged ice, sprung a "fist-sized" leak, and was doomed by uncontrollable flooding doesn't hold water for ship-design experts.

Essential pieces of the story are missing, they say. Those include what M/V Explorer really struck, why flood control efforts failed, and the timing and nature of a second collision with a large iceberg. Sander Calisal, Professor Emeritus of Naval Architecture at the University of British Columbia, notes that M/V Explorer's 1A class ice-reinforced hull ought to have withstood accidental contact with submerged ice. "If there were some kind of underwater ice then, yes, there will be some impact, but I would assume it would be relatively minor." An iceberg large enough to cause serious damage would be readily visible to radar, sonar, and the eyes of the bridge crew.

Mr. Skog, Seattle-based VP for Marine Operations at Lindblad Expeditions, M/V Explorer's original owner, says collisions with submerged ice are very rare events. In a polar career spanning three decades, he can recall only a handful of times when ships he served on experienced ice damage. All amounted to dents, save one incident when a cargo ship he was commanding suffered a small, easily contained leak in the Arctic. Further, such damage almost always occurs in the bow area, which is double-hulled as an added precaution on icegoing vessels. But M/V Explorer 's leak had to be in the middle of the ship, he notes, because as she sank, she remained on a level, bow-to-stern trim.

The apparently small size of the puncture suggests M/V Explorer may have struck something harder than ice, according to Claude Daley, an expert in ice-reinforced ship design at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. "A fist-sized hole doesn't sound like ice damage to me," he says. "You need something very hard to cause a small hole in steel. Stone, for instance." One possibility, says Skog, is a large stone embedded in floating glacial ice. "There can be huge rocks frozen into the ice, and they can be hard to see," he says. "When I was down there in the '70s, in poorly charted waters, you would see things that looked like little islands, but were actually floating." Whatever caused the damage, Mr. Calisal says it shouldn't have sunk the ship by itself. "Passenger ships are designed with many watertight compartments to contain flooding," he says. "There had to have been a chain of failures to prompt the captain to abandon ship."

M/V Explorer 's owner, GAP Adventures of Toronto, is unable to provide further information on the incident, now that their insurance company, Steamship Mutual, is investigating, according Susan Hayes, the GAP Adventure's vice president for marketing. "We don't know exactly what happened," she said. "At this point, I'm not actively in the loop." Initial reports from the company and accounts given by passengers and crew suggest something unexpected happened aboard the ship while the crew worked to contain the damage. The incident started about midnight local time (GMT-3), when M/V Explorer struck something, suffering damage amidships on the starboard side of the lowest passenger level. Passengers there recalled hearing two loud bangs and the sound of rushing water, as their cabins began to flood. They alerted the crew, and a distress call was sent out at 12:20 a.m. While passengers congregated in the muster station on an upper deck, the crew located what Ms. Hayes said was "a crack and a fist-sized hole."

The Toronto Globe & Mail reported Nov. 24 that the crew sealed the affected compartment with watertight doors and, for about an hour, appeared to have stabilized the situation with bilge pumps. Several witnesses have since recounted that while they were waiting in the muster station, M/V Explorer drifted into a large iceberg. The iceberg which one passenger described as being as big as the ship reportedly struck the damaged starboard side. Water levels reportedly began rising again sometime after 1:30 a.m., although it is not clear if this was a result of the second collision. Power failed, and, at about 3 a.m., Captain Bengt Wiman gave the order to abandon ship. Two other cruise ships arrived on the scene at about 7 a.m. to begin plucking passengers and crew from lifeboats and rafts. All 154 aboard were rescued. M/V Explorer, which had rolled on her starboard side, reportedly sank that evening. "The worst thing is that the ship probably sank with the secret of what really happened," says Skog, who hopes investigators manage to find the answer. "On our ships we need to know the facts; speculations aren't really fruitful for us." From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Tues. Dec. 11 2007)

Shippers Must Have Quality Marine Cargo Insurance ........ Because......... "Ship Happens! ©"

If We Have Ever Provided A Cautionary Tale In Support of Cargo Insurance -- This Is It!

To Repeat -- No Matter How Careful You Are -- Or Who You Hire ....... "Ship Happens! ©"


"Ship Happens! ©"

The Dedication of This Feature Is Simple: To M/V Explorer -- 'Little Red Ship' -- And To The Crew of M/V Explorer And Her Families & Passengers.

M/V Explorer Here Is Moored At The Port of Genoa, Italy In Oct. 2004

She Set The Standard For Educational Explorer Cruising

She Has Sailed Every Sea -- She Set Records

She Deserves Our Praise & Remembrance

There Is No Goodbye For This Vessel --

M/V Explorer -- Sail On........

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker.  It's dangerous out there.


READERS NOTE: This Section Not Yet Completed Due To Time
The Line -
The Amazing M/V Explorer

GAP Adventure Travel

GAP Antarctica News

The Scene

South Shetland Islands - Antarctica

King George Island - Antarctica

Maxwell Bay

Bransfield Strait

Polar Cirkel Boats

Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breaking Program

The Rescue Bases

Eduardo Frei Military Base - Chile

Artigas Military Base - Uruguay


M/V Nordnorge

M/V National Geographic Endeavour

1912 Vessels

RMS Titanic

RMS Carpathia

Our Daily Vessel Casualties - stay informed

Other Ocean Related Features From The Cargo Letter- these are just examples

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss - For All The Air & Ocean Features - a few examples below

"For The "L" of It" - M/V Action Alpha - August 2007

"Stack Attack!" - M/V Ital Florida - July 2007

"Riding Down The Marquis" - M/V Rickmars Dalian - June2007

"Carrying Coal To Newcastle" - M/V Pasha Bulker - June 2007

"Between A Yacht & A Hard Place" M/V Madame Butterfly - May 2007

"Boxing Up The Rhine" M/V Excelsior - April 2007

"Best Worst Laid Plans?" M/V Republica di Genoa - March 2007

"Crack'n On The Sidmouth" - M/V MSC Napoli - Jan. 2007

"Operation Jumbo Drop" - M/V Jumbo Challenger - March 2007

"Wrong Way Agulhas?" - M/V Safmarine Agulhas - Jan. 2007

"Full Speed Ahead" - M/V Alva Star - Nov. 2006

"Where The Trade Winds Blew" - Oct. 2006

"Maersk Montevideo Melee!" - M/V Leda Maersk - Oct. 2006

"Laying Down On The Job" - M/V Cargo Ace - Aug. 2006 The Marty Johnson Project Continues

"A Day A The Beach - M/V APL Panama - Jan. 2006

"Great Misfortune"- M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

"Unstacked - Overboard With Dr. Beach" - Oct. 2004

"Columbia River Round Up" - June 2003

"Halifax Hash"--M/V Maersk Carolina - Jan. 2003

"Piñata" - breaking the box - Jan. 2003

"T-E-U Bar-Be-Cue" - aftermath of the M/V Pennsylvania Loss - Nov. 2002

"Container Pool" - a mystery - May 2002

"Dropping In On The Trucker" -happened again - April 2002

"Meals: Ready To Explode" - Navy Barbecue at Guam June 2001

"M/V Ville D' Orion" - Bad L.A. Stack Disaster! April 2001 -- UPDATED - May 2002

"Pier Review" - Sept. 2001

"Singles Only" - visit our individual moments of transport crisis for more.

The Greatest Container Losses Of All Time - these are the grand fathers -

M/V OOCL America

M/V APL China

SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker. 

It's very dangerous out there.

Thanks To Our Contributors For The"Explorer Ship Down" Feature

Our Contributors for this feature are:
Tim Schwabedissen -- our Sr.Cargo Law Correspondent

A. Griffiths -- Our Cargo Law Correspondent

Rodrigo Valenzuela Pickrodt

Captain Patrick R.M.Toomey, Canadian Coast Guard (retired)

Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen

The Cargo Letter appreciates the continuing efforts of these valued contributors. Thanks Pals!

NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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