The ship carrying the Northwest Passage Project’s expedition participants, the Akademik Ioffe, ran aground in the high Canadian Arctic on August 24, 2018. There were no injuries and all expedition participants are safe. The ship was quickly refloated but needs repair, resulting the the postponement of the Northwest Passage Expedition. All passengers were safely transferred to shore and returned home.
Contrary to some online reports, the Northwest Passage Project expedition aboard One Ocean Expeditions Akademik Ioffe was not curtailed due to ice conditions. In fact, there was no impeding ice near the area where the ship grounded. The grounding occurred due to an uncharted geologic feature that is currently being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
The Northwest Passage Project team is disappointed that their efforts to study, take measurements, and add to the Arctic information base have been postponed by this event. Scientific data is critical to objective, evidence-based understanding of the region’s changing conditions, which have opened the Arctic Ocean to greater marine traffic. The expedition is postponed to summer 2019.