Tourists rescued in Arctic as vessel runs aground

On 22th May, a small tour boat with 12 French tourists and 3 crew on board ran aground in Borebukta, Spitsbergen, Arctic, prompting an air rescue for tourists.

According to the governor of the Svalbard region, everyone was safely evacuated and there is no significant damage expected to the environmentally sensitive region.

None of the people onboard were physically injured.

…the authorities said.

As explained, the vessel MS Isbjørn 2 (79 feet long) registered in the UK, departed Longyearbyen, Norway. The vessel grounded late on Monday near Borebukta in Isfjorden. The decision was made to launch a rescue operation at 22:30 as the vessel was reported to be listing and continuing to take on water.

The crew remained aboard the vessel which was initially thought to be hard aground, but at high tide overnight they were able to pull the Isbjørn 2 free.

However, the authorities are warning that large areas in Svalbard remain unmapped adding to the difficulties of navigating.

The large ice formations make exact mapping difficult while many areas used older methods for mapping that are less precise. Reports are saying that this is not the first incident in the area while calling for efforts to improve mapping in the region.

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