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Arctic : Ponant, the French cruise company, has made a white duck

While Ponant published inner views from its future icebreaker, Commandant Charcot, a fiasco upset the French flag in its conquest and pollution of the Arctic Ocean. The Boreal and Soleal, which left Greenland on August 20 and 27, received orders from the Canadian authorities to turn back. The ice pack and icebergs are already here. They are impassable. The two “yachts” were heading for Nome in Alaska. Their 500 passengers, who may have become climate sceptics, paid at least between 10,000 and 30,000 euros but they missed the “crossing of the legendary Northwest Passage in the footsteps of explorers”, they could not buy walrus or narwhal ivory from Inuit traders in traditional villages and they could not disturb by their curiosity “the polar bear Lord of the Arctic”. They will have to be compensated.

Mikado effect. The Boreal and Soleal were to continue their journey by embarking new passengers at Nome in mid-September for two new cruises. They’re cancelled. One was destined for Seward, Alaska, the other for Vancouver, Canada. They had also been very successful. Both cruises are “full”. Customers will have to be repaid, between 5,000 and 15,000 euros each depending on the luxury of the cabins.

Another Mikado effect. A new crossing through the mythical Northwest Passage between Greenland and Alaska planned for late August 2019 is now full of doubt. The cruise is too already “full”. Some candidates for the great jump would try to get out of it and claim to be repaid too. A possible and dangerous helicopter clearing in the middle of the Arctic Ocean from the ice-bound Austral is not necessarily part of their program. Such a misadventure happened to the 128 passengers of the Clipper Adventurer on August 28, 2010 [1].

By 2022, there will be about 100 cruise ships scouring the Arctic Ocean. All rescue centres in the bordering countries fear this invasive species.