Friday, September 10, 2010

Arctic Cruise Ship CLIPPER ADVENTURER Aground

Update: 20100917
Resolve Marine Group refloated the Clipper Adventurer cruise ship recently.  The vessel had run aground on rocks in Coronation Gulf, in Canada's Northwest Passage on Friday, August 27.

The Resolve salvage team deployed four tugs at high tide, to free the stranded vessel.  The Clipper had sustained several breeches to the hull when it ran aground the rocks last month, with passengers onboard. The Canadian Coast Guard evacuated the passengers without incident before the salvage operations began. The vessel is currently underway to Port Epworth, Nunavut, where it will be stabilized and temporary repairs effected.
Resolve Marine Group is a leading marine services organization with a primary focus on salvage and emergency response, worldwide.  It is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, and has operations in New Orleans, Theodore (Mobile), London, and Singapore. Its divisions include Resolve Salvage & Fire (Americas), Inc., a Primary Resource Provider for ship owners and operators, that fulfills all U.S. Coast Guard OPA-90 requirements for marine salvage and firefighting in U.S. waters.
A team of University of New Brunswick researchers played a vital role in the recent rescue of a cruise ship stranded in the Arctic Ocean. The researchers, part of UNB's Ocean Mapping Group, helped map a safe course for the CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker that can also serve as a rescue vessel. The Amundsen was the closest vessel to the MV Clipper Adventurer, which ran aground last Friday on a voyage from Port Epworth to Kugluktuk, Nunavut.

The Stranded Clipper AdventureThe research ship had to steam more than 500 kilometres from the Beaufort Sea to reach the MV Clipper Adventurer in the Coronation Gulf. According to UNB professor John Hughes Clarke, head of the university's Ocean MappingGroup, the cruise ship effectively ran into an underwater cliff and had they been just a few ship lengths to the east or west they would have missed it.

The UNB researchers had to make sure that the Amundsen didn't meet the same fate. UNB's Doug Cartwright and Ian Church, who are leading the survey work on the Amundsen, used the ship's multi-beam 
sonar system to carefully survey the seabed along the approach to the stricken vessel. WhenAmundsen got closer to the stranded cruise ship, the researchers used a smaller multibeam sonar system on the research ship's barge to safely guide the vessel.

Church also did a three-dimensional survey of the area immediately around the grounded cruise ship using the barge.

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago, says Hughes Clarke, remains poorly charted. While there are safe shipping lanes in the area, receding 
ice in recent years has made it possible for ships to venture into parts of the Arctic that were never before accessible by water. Many cruise ships are heading into riskier areas, says Hughes Clarke. "The problem is cruise ships want to go off the safe shipping lanes where there is more dramatic topography or stunning wildlife," he says.

The only surveys done in many of those areas were from a helicopter that would land on the 
ice every six kilometers or so to collect data, mostly about the depth of the water. The area that the cruise line went aground in, most of the surveys were done by helicopter and according to Clarke, the measurements are accurate, to a point. "It's accurate, but imagine taking an elevation measurement in Fredericton and then in New Maryland and not notice the crest of the hill between the two." Hughes Clarke says that contrary to earlier media reports, the rock that the cruise ship ran aground on was a known hazard. The hazard had been reported in a Coast Guard notice to shipping in 2007, he says.
The surveys done by the UNB researchers are now being used by other Coast Guard ships assisting with the recovery of the cruise ship.

There are five UNB staff and nine graduate students within the Ocean 
MappingGroup. Roughly half of the students are Canadian, while others come from abroad including naval officers from Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Taiwan.

As engineers, the UNB contingent within the ArcticNet consortium is responsible for designing and running all the seabed 
surveying as well as developing new software and methods for advancing the technology.

The Ocean 
Mapping Group has processed and handed over all survey information pertaining to the grounding to the Canadian Hydrographic Service, who will be conducting additional surveys.
Amundsen is currently underway back to the Beaufort Sea where she will be resuming her scheduled scientific seabed survey operations, says Hughes Clarke. It's important work, for shipping safety and for helping other industries such as the energy sector, that are exploring safe areas of the arctic that could be important for accessing oil and gas reserves. "It's exciting work. We're operating in areas that have never been ice free before."

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1 comment:

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