Expedition Ship Refloated After Running Aground

An oceanographic expedition ship, Akademik loffe, ran aground near Kugaaruk, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic late last week.

The One Ocean Expeditions vessel had been heading north when the incident occurred in the western Gulf of Boothia late Thursday afternoon.

At the time of the grounding, 162 people were onboard from a range of countries. Some were passengers; others were crew or scientists participating in the Northwest Passage Project.

The good news? On Saturday morning – without any injuries – all passengers were evacuated to a sister ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov. Both are Baltic Class 1A ice-strengthened ships, designed to operate in polar waters.

Two Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers were on site to assist in transferring passengers and crew off the stricken ship. Plus, two Hercules aircraft and several helicopters were available for the rescue. 

Initially, authorities had noted the grounded ship was taking on water. Later, it was explained that the hull damage was limited and contained to closed, empty tanks. Thus, the oceanographic vessel itself was not in danger of sinking.

In fact, over the weekend, the ship was successfully refloated. In addition, One Ocean Expeditions said that there had been no reports of any leakage or environmental concerns.

On Sunday, Canadian authorities were closely monitoring the Akademik Sergey Vavilov’s journey to Kugaaruk, as the ship was carrying 270 passengers (guests from both ships), which is more than its safety equipment can accommodate.

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