Russia canceled polar cruise ship leases, Canadian company says

The Russian government has unexpectedly cancelled leases on the high-end cruise vessels Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov, according to One Ocean Expeditions. (One Ocean Expeditions)
There will be two fewer cruise ships stopping in Sydney, N.S. (Atlantic Canada), this summer.

One Ocean Expeditions said in a news release on Tuesday the Russian government unexpectedly cancelled the leases on two of its ships.

The ice-class charter vessels Akademic Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov were used on Arctic and Antarctic cruises.

In Atlantic Canada, they also toured around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and occasionally stopped in Sydney for provisions.

Legal action underway

No one from One Ocean Expeditions was available for comment on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman said no one would likely comment on Wednesday because the cancelled leases are now part of a legal action.

Meanwhile, the company is scrambling to rebook passengers on its third ship, the RCGS Resolute.

One Ocean Expeditions is also refunding passengers who can’t be accommodated.

Andrew Prossin had hoped to make Sydney the company’s home port, which he said could bring millions of dollars in business to the region. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

The company is based in Squamish, B.C. (Western Canada), but was founded by Andrew Prossin, a native of Sydney.

Prossin had hoped to make Sydney the company’s home port after the Cape Breton Regional Municipality finishes construction of a second cruise ship berth.

He has said that could bring millions of dollars in business to the port of Sydney.

The Akademik Ioffe was in the news last year when it grounded near Kugaaruk, Nunavut (Canadian eastern Arctic), in August.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Small community in Arctic Canada disappointed by cruise ship cancellations, says mayor, CBC News

Finland: Baltic cruise business still booming, Yle News

Norway: How a Norwegian coastal ferry service went global, Cryopolitics Blog

Russia: Luxury cruises lured by Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Environmental groups call for global moratorium on ‘emissions cheat’ systems on ships, Eye on the Arctic

Tom Ayers, CBC News

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