Cruise and Maritime Voyages, Marco Polo, is the regions latest victim. According to reports she ran aground in a remote Norwegian fjord north of the Arctic Circle last night resulting in damage to her hull. The vessel was leaving Sortland and under the command of a local pilot at the time.
Marco Polo immediately returned to port to undergo a damage assessment, small repairs were made and she was cleared to sail on the remainder of her voyage. It is unclear whether or not the ship will require further repairs but she is due back in Tilbury on Thursday. The vessel however is built for icy conditions, being a former soviet ship her hull is designed to withstand contact with Arctic ice.
Hugo Naess, Port Director for the Port of Sortland, expressed surprise over the grounding: “This has never happened before in the 15 years I have worked at the port, and about 2,200 different ships per year use the port. The Norwegian Coastal Administration is responsible for the correct charts, and they will be investigating the incident.”
Marco Polo is just the latest victim to the Fjords uncharted rocks lurking beneath the water line.
Just last week Hurtigruten’s, Kong Harald, struck a submerged rock at the entrance to Trollfjord in northern Norway. Kong Harald however was not quite as lucky, the vessel took on water and had to wait several hours for the tide to come in and lift her off the rock before she could return to port. Ultimately the remainder of the cruise was cancelled and the vessel made its way to dry-dock for emergency repairs.
These most recent incidents clearly show how much the world around us is changing, even the parts we can’t easily see. Fingers crossed with chart updates, future vessels can steer clear!