Latin America and Polar Travel Specialists, Chimu Adventures, are showcasing their new Antarctic vessel, the Ocean Endeavour, as their ‘Sustainable Feature of the Month’ for October. This recent Chimu initiative, launched in August, highlights the outstanding environmental, socially responsible and cultural credentials of a selected Chimu product.
Antarctica is one of the most fragile destinations on the planet and, according to the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, visitors making shore landings reached 45,864 during the 2018/2019 season (a figure that was under 27,000 ten years prior). With Antarctica’s popularity increasing, Chimu are working to ensure their operations in the region are as responsible and sustainable as possible.
Setting sail on its debut Antarctica cruise in November 2020 in partnership with Peregrine, the Ocean Endeavour will be establishing an industry first as a climate positive Antarctic expedition by double carbon offsetting all departures. This is incorporated into the journey cost, therefore, the passenger does not incur an additional fee. Carbon offsetting projects supported through this include Rainforest Rehab in Malaysian Borneo who replant trees and avoid deforestation of the natural jungle by the prevention of palm oil plantations; and Winds of Change in Turkey which runs 20 wind turbines generating 109.9GWh of annual electricity. This project has the additional benefit of creating more than 60 jobs in the local community.
The Ocean Endeavour is defined as a ‘small ship.’ It carries less than 200 passengers at one time (some megaliner cruise ships can accommodate up to 5000 people) so its impact both environmentally and culturally is minimised. The embarkation point for most Antarctic expeditions is the small Argentinean city of Ushuaia which does not have the infrastructure to accommodate mass tourism. Keeping passengers to a minimum, therefore, causes less strain on the local community and facilities.
Plastic reduction measures aboard the Ocean Endeavour include no plastic straws, the provision of soap and shampoo dispensers in guest cabins, the supply of one reusable water bottle per passenger to refill at water stations, and a vision to eliminate the use of plastic throughout the entire operation.
The sustainability credentials of food and other products are being continually assessed; the ship will only be serving sustainable seafood and using environmentally friendly cleaning products. All waste will, of course, be taken out of Antarctica with the ship and Chimu are working with SeaGreen on recycling initiatives and waste minimisation in the gateway city of Ushuaia.
Additionally, the Ocean Endeavour has become a founding sponsor of the Antarctic Science Foundation which directly supports Australian scientific programmes. Profits from berth sales will also be contributed to Mawson’s Huts Foundation – a charity which educates and preserves Australian Antarctic history.
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