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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:56 PM
Rev22:17 Rev22:17 is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Massachusetts
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I think that most of the article speaks for itself, but I will add a few comments.

Originally Posted by The embedded article
But the founder and CEO of G.A.P. Adventures, Bruce Poon Tip, expresses dissatisfaction with the investigation. "We dispute pretty much everything in the report," he says, but declines to offer his own version of events or to respond point by point to the report's findings.
This sort of denial is unacceptable, and indicative of a company that has no regard for the safety of its vessels and passengers.

Originally Posted by The embeded article
Poon Tip... confin[es] his answers to the quality of the company's rescue effort.
The company's rescue efforts???

I'll give the ship's officers and staff credit for (1) evacuating the ship smoothly and (2) getting help to the scene, but it was ships of other companies that pulled off the actual rescue!

News reports shortly after the sinking of MS Explorer indicated that the company that owned the ship was controlled by associates of an "environmental" group that had chartered the vessel for a propaganda cruise to promote action to deal with supposed "global warming" on which the scientific community is now casting serious doubt. If the organization that operated the cruise really cared about the environment, they would have put safety first rather than hazarding the environment with the fuel, lubricants, raw sewage, and who knows what else that remains aboard the sunken vessel to spew forth when its hull and tanks rust through.

Originally Posted by The embedded article
Delegates to the Antarctica Treaty meeting approved a resolution that bans vessels carrying more than 500 passengers from conducting landings in Antarctica. In recent years, Princess Cruise Lines has sent its 109,000-ton megaships Golden Princess and Star Princess to the Antarctic, even though neither is ice-reinforced. Each carries more than 3,500 passengers and crew.

"If the Golden Princess struck ice and got in trouble, everyone knows that there isn't the capacity in Antarctica to deal with an emergency like that," says Barnes. "Those vessels should not come into ice infested waters at all."
The prohibition of landings by "vessels carrying more than 500 passengers" seems somewhat arbitrary, but there are at least three legitimate concerns.

>> 1. A landing of a large concentration of people in a small area that does not have adequate facilities certainly could pose some very serious environmental problems. Realistically, the delegates should give some consideration to development of some sort of cruise ship pier with a visitors' center that would provide informative exhibits, restroom facilities, basing for harbor pilots who would guide ships to and from the facility, basing for tour vehicles, gathering space for tour groups, and accommodations for staff employed there. The facility could also serve as a scientific research station, with the orientation provided to visitors from cruise ships including information on scientific research at the facility. In any case, the facility also should have a well-equipped and well-staffed medical clinic an airstrip adequate for medical evacuation as well as for resupply aircraft. The delegates should regard this as a unique opportunity to educate visitors about the peculiar attributes of the region and of their work to preserve it.

>> 2. Vessels that don't have properly designed and reinforced ("icebreaker") hulls and adequately trained officers and crews have no business going anywhere near either arctic or antarctic ice fields. An amendment to the nautical "Rules of the Road" forbidding such vehicles from entering such regions would be in order.

>> 3. The capacity available to rescue passengers from a very large vessel, like MV Golden Princess, also is a very serious concern in arctic or antarctic waters where ice fields pose much greater risks than the open seas. Realistically, though, a requirement for icebreaker hulls would keep such ships out of the region.

IOW, I think that the delegates should look at this incident as an opportunity rather than as a problem.

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