1,070-capacity cruise ship sets sails for Northwest Passage

Published on : Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Crystal SerenityA 68,000-ton luxury cruise ship with a capacity of 1,070 passengers has set sail from Seward region in Alaska for a nearly 1,000 mile-journey via Greenland and Canada to New York on a 32-day voyage.


This voyage to the Northwest Passage comes a century after Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer and his team of six crew members had sailed through this part of the world on Gjoa, his 47-ton sloop. Crystal Serenity is the largest cruise in the entire world to undertake such a dangerous journey navigating through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. And, the waters of this region are poorly-charted.


Ever since John Cabot started his first voyage through the area between Atlantic Ocean and Pacific in the year 1497, several seafarers have lost their lives.


However, the very first successful voyage around this area had been made by Roald Amundsen in 1906. Thereafter, there have been 240 transits in the last 110 years. It took Amundsen three years to complete the trip. The voyage initiated by Crystal Serenity is expected to be completed within eight days. And, it has been scheduled to arrive in New York on 16th September.


A majority of those 240 transits, including 17 that had been undertaken last year since 2007 had not witnessed something like this before – as the Passage was declared ‘ice free’ during summer due to ocean warming.


Edie Rodriquez, CEO, Crystal told the media that the cruise liner had made additional efforts to ensure that it meets the requirements required to usher the ship into a flawless environment. For instance, the cruise liner had been utilizing low-sulphur marine gas oil so as not to disturb their environment.


The cruise ship carrying 1,070 passengers and 665 crew members would depart from the Anchorage, travel north through Bering Strait and cross the Northwest Passage. It would make small stops in Arctic communities based in the U.S., Greenland, Canada and eventually make a stopover at northeastern portion of the United States prior to completing its journey in New York.


Michael Byers, author of ‘International Law and the Arctic’ said that the Northwest Passage is prone to accidents. He added that it would take a rescue helicopter at least two days to reach that spot. He also said that this region is complete with other risks that include remains or icebergs that can be disastrous if they hit a ship.


The cruise liner has stated that it has taken many precautions with it in order to make sure that the passengers are safe.


A spokesperson of Crystal Serenity said that it would be well-equipped with thermal imaging equipment, sonar and a high-resolution ice radar. This equipment would enable the cruise ship to scan the waters below and above the surface to check for underwater obstructions.


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