Cruise Ship in the Arctic Raises SAR Fears


CBCNews reports that a cruise ship with a crew of 600 and an expected 1000 passengers is planning to make a cruise from Anchorage to New York City via the North West Passage, August 16 to September 17, 2016, and it is raising the specter of a mass casualty event far from any rescue assets.

I think the Russians require an escort for passage through the Northern Sea Route, for which they charge a fee.

“Plus, introducing our brand new Crystal Unexpected Adventures—your chance to explore this magnificent region on truly spontaneous excursions! This is the ultimate expedition for the true explorer!”

“Adventures make one late for dinner.”–Bilbo Baggins.

Thanks to Ken for bringing this to my attention.

6 thoughts on “Cruise Ship in the Arctic Raises SAR Fears

  1. At least the Swedish icebreaker Tor Viking II came through the Northern Sea Route unescorted, but it’s generally true that the Russians require icebreaker escort for all foreign ships and most of their own fleet as well – only the special icebreaking cargo ships are allowed to sail unescorted on regular routes. When I was there in 2012 and 2015, we had nuclear-powered icebreakers escorting us.

    As for the cruise ship, they are going to have an escort as well:

    No idea which ship is accompanying them, though. Could be CCG or someone from the private sector (Swedes, Finns, or even the US-flagged Aiviq).

    • That it will have an escort makes me feel much better about this. Would not be surprised if it were Russian. If so, the Canadians may object in that they view much of the NW passage as internal waters. The US agrees to disagree.

    • I was kind of hoping they would have gone for a slightly bigger icebreaker, but I guess there simply isn’t that much ice in the region at that time of the year.

  2. It would appear from the designated track, that Canada or Denmark would have more skin in this issue compared to the US. How often does Canada or Denmark share the same level of interest for vessel transits within US territorial waters?

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