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Too many cruising mishaps? The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the deaths on Antarctica cruise ships.

The United States Coast Guard is looking into the deaths and injuries of Americans on cruise ships sailing around Antarctica late last year.

The US Coast Guard Activities Europe, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and international flag administrations are investigating incidents on foreign-flagged vessels between November 15 and December 1.

A rogue wave hit the Viking Polaris ship on its way to Ushuaia, Argentina, in November, prompting the investigations. One person was killed, and four others were hurt. Norway is the case’s primary investigator.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those affected by these tragedies,” said Coast Guard Activities Europe commanding officer Capt. Gretchen Bailey in a news release. “The safety of American passengers aboard ships around the world is a top priority for the US Coast Guard. We are honoured to collaborate with the NTSB and our international partners to investigate these incidents and make meaningful safety improvements for global passenger vessel operations, particularly in high-risk environments like the Antarctic.”

What incidents is the Coast Guard looking into?

Several other incidents are being investigated:

A U.S. citizen was injured when an inflatable boat from Viking Polaris “sustained a keel-bladder failure near Damoy Point, Antarctica,” according to the release. Norway is also the lead investigator in that case.

Two Americans were killed when an inflatable boat from Quark Expeditions’ World Explorer ship capsized near Elephant Island in Antarctica. At the time, the boat was carrying six passengers. Portugal leads the investigation.

A US citizen died after being injured on Oceanwide Expeditions’ Plancius ship. The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation in collaboration with officials from the Netherlands and the Falkland Islands.

“We deeply regret this unfortunate accident and would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the departed’s family and friends,” Oceanwide Expeditions’ Antarctic Program Manager Franklin Braeckman said in an email. “This incident involved an unintentional fall on our vessel Plancius that occurred during no activity or landing.”

“We immediately provided medical assistance, and then we arranged for an evacuation,” he added.

The United States will assist with the Viking Polaris and World Explorer investigations “as a significantly interested state in accordance with International Maritime Organization protocols and Coast Guard policy,” according to a Coast Guard release.

The Coast Guard and the NTSB, as well as the lead investigative states, also dispatched teams to conduct safety investigations in Ushuaia, Argentina – a common point of departure for Antarctica expeditions – in order to prevent future incidents of this nature.

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