Recent hull issues and a less than ideal condition of Ocean Atlantic has seen Albatros Expeditions terminate the charter arrangement of the vessel for the remainder of its Arctic season.
The decision follows “a small intrusion” that was discovered in the hull of the 36-year-old vessel last month during a Svalbard circumnavigation. The leak, that occured on 18 July, was “promptly fixed” but that voyage required Coast Guards to escort the aging vessel back to Longyearbyen. At the time, Greg Carter, Chief Commercial Officer of Albatros Expeditions told travel partners “at no stage was the ship in any danger” to passengers and crew onboard.
Guests on the cruise “will continue to enjoy an expedition program in the Longyearbyen area,” Carter said, adding that “no further decisions will be made on future departures until a full inspection is made in port in the next 24 – 48 hours.”
A few days later Carter told travel advisors a “rigorous audit” of the 198-guest ship was necessary, requiring the voyage on 23 July to be cancelled.
The issues with the ship, which was refurbished five years ago, however have compounded and last weekend [30 July 2022] saw Albatros Expeditions make the decision to pull the vessel from its line-up.
“It is with great sadness we are announcing the immediate retirement of the Ocean Atlantic,” Carter said.
“As you are no doubt aware, we have had issues with the ship this season, however, on her last voyage a small hole opened up in the hull.
“As a result of this incident and the difficulty of bringing her into repair in the polar regions, we have decided to cancel the entire 2022 summer season,” Carter confirmed.
“We charter the vessel, and the ship arrived for her deployment in a poor state after her long layup and use as a refugee ship due to the Ukrainian crisis. These issues aside, the sudden Force Majeure event with the hull was significant for us to cancel. With the cancellation of the Antarctic season on the Ocean Atlantic earlier this month, Albatros Expeditions has now finished with the vessel and we look forward to the delivery of our second infinity class new build next year, Ocean Albatros,” Carter said.
Albatros Expeditions had multiple sailings to Greenland in its 2022 Arctic program still to come, along with a Northwest Passage voyage later this month.
Carter, the Co-Founder of Chimu Adventures who joined Albatros Expeditions in January, said the company was processing cancellations in chronological order, and encouraged travel advisors to contact their impacted guests to inform them of the news as “there may be a delay in our response time.”
“We will be in touch over the coming weeks with you about your client bookings,” Carter remarked.
Albatros Expeditions’ impacted guests will receive a full refund and a 15% discount on a future voyage aboard either Ocean Victory or Ocean Albatros.
“Clients should consult their insurance for cruise cancellation due to Force Majeure,” he said, concluding his memo by saying: “Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to brighter times over the coming months.”