Eighty British tourists on a journey to watch emperor penguins in the Antarctic have been stranded for a week after their cruise ship got stuck in the ice. The Kapitan Khlebnikov, a Russian icebreaker that takes people through the icebergs of the Weddell Sea and to Snow Hill Island rookery, set out on 3 November and was due to return tomorrow.
But bad weather caused the sea-ice to compact, making it impossible for the ship, with its 105 passengers, including the 80 Britons, to break through. Among those on board are a BBC crew filming The Frozen Planet, a nature documentary series produced by Alastair Fothergill, who also made Blue Planet. A BBC spokeswoman said the team, who were supposed to take helicopter rides from the ship to film the penguins from above, were frustrated but in no danger.
There are also biologists and geologists on the ship, who are said to be giving daily conferences to keep passengers entertained.
Passing the message on through a satellite phone, a passenger, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “The first three days went according to plan, but then the weather started changing. Now we have to wait for winds to change.”
The passengers and crew are in no danger and it is expected that the ice will decompress enough over the weekend for the ship to navigate its way out and return to Ushuaia, Argentina.