Viking Confirms Fatality in Antarctica 'Rogue Wave Incident'

Viking has confirmed reports that one guest has died following a "rogue wave incident" involving the Viking Polaris on 29NOV while the ship was sailing towards Ushuaia, Argentina. 

"It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident. We have notified the guest’s family and shared our deepest sympathies. We will continue to offer our full support to the family in the hours and days ahead," said Viking in a statement on 01DEC.

Additionally, Viking confirmed four other guests also sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the incident, which were treated by the ship’s onboard doctor and medical staff.

Viking Polaris.
Viking Polaris.


The cruise line also confirmed the ship sustained "limited damage" during the incident, which reports say included several broken windows and arrived in Ushuaia without further occurrences on 30NOV.

"We are investigating the facts surrounding this incident and will offer our support to the relevant authorities," Viking added. "Our focus remains on the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew, and we are working directly with them to arrange return travel."

Viking has also decided to cancel the ship’s next scheduled departure, the 05-17DEC Antarctic Explorer itinerary. Viking says all impacted guests and their travel advisors have been notified directly by Viking Customer Relations.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a rogue wave is an unexpected wave which can be very dangerous as they are more than twice the size of surrounding waves. According to reports, they often come from different directions than already-existing waves and wind.

NOAA reports describe rogue waves as steep "walls of water." The agency adds that these waves are "extremely rare," and that there are several known causes – including "constructive interference" relating to swells in the ocean and shifts in "wave energy."

This incident comes two weeks after Open Jaw reported two guests had perished in a Zodiac excursion on an expedition cruise in Antarctica.

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