Two Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers were called to rescue a luxury cruise ship that ran aground outside of Kugaruuk, Aug. 24.
“We are in charge of the operation and passenger vessel Akademik Ioffe is floating free. The situation is stable. No pollution has been observed. Disembarkation of the passengers has commenced and no injuries are reported,” the coast guard tweeted early the next morning.
The 117-metre Akademik Ioffe is a “modern, comfortable and ice strengthened” ship, states the cruise line One Ocean Expedition's website. The ship had left Kugaruuk the morning of Aug. 24 before running aground in the Gulf of Boothia later that day.
Andrea Beaubien, spokesperson for One Ocean Expedition, said there were a total 127 staff and passengers on board when the ship got stuck. He said there were no injuries and no environmental damages caused by the incident. Beaubien could not confirm what exactly caused the boat to get stuck or what the boat was stuck on, but did says as of Aug. 25, the boat was “floated” -- meaning it was under its own power and movable.
“There are a number of nationalities on board, mostly Americans and Canadians but there's a range of nationalities on board as well,” said Beaubien. “It left Kugaruuk and I don't know its exact destination, it was cruising the Arctic. On those trips we often go where we can find cool things to look at.”
While it is not clear exactly when the boat got stuck, the company issued a statement regarding the situation at 7:40 p.m. local time, Aug. 24.
"We regret the inconvenience to our passengers and are working closely with the captain, shipowner and all relevant agencies to resolve the situation as quickly and safely as possible,” the news release stated.
“As per standard procedure, the captain of the Akademik Ioffe has engaged all relevant federal and territorial agencies. The Akademik Ioffe’s sister vessel Akademik Sergey Vavilov is within closest proximity and is proceeding to the area to provide any support and assistance required.”
It was not clear where the passengers would be taken once they were offloaded from the ship. Calls to the Canadian Coast Guard were not returned as of press time.
One Ocean Expedition offers a number of cruises in Nunavut ranging from nine to 12 nights and from $7,000 to $12,600. The Akademik Ioffe has a movie theater, hot tub, gift shop, Jacuzzi, sauna and plunge pool, according to the company's website.
“Our three ships are considered by many to be the best polar expedition ships in the world. These vessels were purpose built to conduct sensitive hydro-acoustic research and science in the polar regions and our newest addition to the fleet was purpose built for expedition cruising.” states One Ocean Expedition's website.