Challenging Arctic cruising and safety / Columns / The Foreigner

Challenging Arctic cruising and safety. The lure of the Arctic! Its rich and varied peoples, cultures, and histories. Its beauty and majesty, in scenery and wildlife. Tourists are increasingly clamouring for the northern latitudes, including around Norway. Cruises are popular. You experience land and sea, weather and water. The vast majority of companies are responsible, safe, and care for their clients and the Arctic.

arctic, rescue, cruises, holidays, icebergs, northwestpassage, paywall



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Challenging Arctic cruising and safety

Published on Wednesday, 27th July, 2016 at 11:01 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

The lure of the Arctic! Its rich and varied peoples, cultures, and histories. Its beauty and majesty, in scenery and wildlife.

Arctic cruising along Trollfjorden
Arctic cruising along Trollfjorden
Photo: Ilan Kelman


Tourists are increasingly clamouring for the northern latitudes, including around Norway.

Cruises are popular. You experience land and sea, weather and water. The vast majority of companies are responsible, safe, and care for their clients and the Arctic.

As the aphorism intones, 1% give the other 99% a bad name. What are the consequences of an operator making a mistake and, through bad luck or having bypassed protocols, a ship full of tourists sinking in treacherous northern waters?

It could be devastating, given the size of some cruise liners. The Crystal Serenity, aiming to traverse the Northwest Passage in August-September, can carry over 1,000 passengers with over 600 crew. This exceeds the population of many Arctic settlements.

Rescue resources are scarce and scattered over the vast northern latitudes. Even if everyone reaches land safely, then locals might struggle to accommodate them. The changeable, vicious Arctic weather could thwart careful backup plans.

When the Maxim Gorky sank near Spitsbergen in 1989 and when the Explorer sank in Antarctica in 2007, all those on board were safely rescued because conditions were favourable. This cannot always be the case.

Those trained and ready for Arctic rescue are amongst the best in the world. They understand and are equipped for the difficulties of dealing with hundreds of people in lifeboats in polar waters--but they would rather not put their expertise into practice.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London.




Published on Wednesday, 27th July, 2016 at 11:01 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: arctic, rescue, cruises, holidays, icebergs, northwestpassage, paywall.





  
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