Canada’s transportation safety board to investigate passenger ship grounding in Arctic

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The Akademik Ioffe off the the western Antarctic peninsula on March 05, 2016. The ship grounded in the Canadian Arctic on Friday. (Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has sent a team of investigators to the Arctic to investigate last week’s grounding of a passenger ship.

The vessel, Akademik Ioffe, run by One Ocean Expeditions, grounded on Friday in the Gulf of Boothia near the community of Kugaaruk in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

There were 162 people on board at the time, says the TSB.

All passengers were transferred onto the Akademik Ioffe’s  sister vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, by Saturday. There were no injuries and no environmental damage from the incident, said One Ocean Expeditions in a news release.

Passengers returned home Monday

All passengers arrived in Edmonton, Alberta in southern Canada on Monday before flying home, the company said.

The TSB is the body that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation accidents in Canada.

Two of their investigators have already left for the Arctic and are expected to arrive in Kugaaruk on Wednesday. They’re scheduled to board the vessel and start their investigation on Thursday.

One Ocean Expeditions is based in Squamish, British Columbia and specializes in travel to the Arctic and Antarctic. The Akademik Ioffe is described on its website as a 117-metre long, ice class vessel that accommodates 96 passengers and 65 staff and crew.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada ill-prepared for Arctic shipping boom, G7 sustainability summit hears, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Baltic Sea helps Helsinki post record cruise season, YLE News

France: A cruise ship bound for the North Pole, The Independent Barents Observer

Iceland: Arctic tourism in the age of Instagram, Eye on the Arctic

Norway:  Several ships being launched to feed Arctic cruise boom, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia fires up nuclear icebreaker for North Pole cruises, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Alaska’s cruise industry just keeps getting bigger, Alaska Dispatch News

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Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland and Alaska; along with the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

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