Obama Administration Wants Controls on Antarctic Tourism

Travel Blog  •  Joanna Kakissis  •  04.07.09 | 2:30 PM ET

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants to limit landings in Antarctica from ships carrying a lot of tourists in an effort to save the continent from further environmental degradation, Reuters reports. Speaking to a joint session of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting and the Arctic Council, Clinton also said the U.S. is offering new rules for lifeboats, to better protect passengers in stranded or sinking cruise ships. One cruise ship was already stranded this past winter, while some 150 crew and passengers had to be rescued in late 2007 after their ship struck ice and sank.

Joanna Kakissis's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, among other publications. A contributor to the World Hum blog, she's currently a Ted Scripps fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

1 Comment for Obama Administration Wants Controls on Antarctic Tourism

Janet Go 04.13.09 | 11:50 AM ET

On February 8, 2009, Holland America’s ship ms Prinsendam was the last cruise ship of its size to be allowed to call at Cumberland Bay, South Georgia, the captain told us. I was aboard the ship for a 2-1/2-month cruise from Florida around South America and back to Florida via the Panama Canal. A few passengers at a time were allowed to land at Cumberland Bay and walk among the fur seals, penguins, and birds.  There’s not much else to see there. A few scientists and rangers live on the island.  As in the Falkland Islands, visitors were required to stay at least 5 yards from the wildlife.
For the next six days, we cruised in Antarctica in surprisingly good weather and calm seas. We skirted ice bergs, Capt Horn and the Drake Passage before calling at Ushuaia, Terra del Fuego, Argentina. It was all a very worthwhile experience. If you get the chance, go see for yourself!

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