2013 Press Releases

IAATO Statement regarding Akademik Shokalskiy and Australasian Antarctic Expedition

December 25, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.  The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators has received reports that the vessel, Akademik Shokalskiy, is currently trapped in pack ice off East Antarctica, in the vicinity of Mertz glacier.  We understand that there is no immediate threat to life and no threat to the environment but the vessel has asked for icebreaker assistance. Three icebreakers are now en route to the area and are anticipated to arrive in the next couple of days.

Onboard is the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-14, "The Spirit of Mawson" a group of scientists and science volunteers, who had paid their own way on the trip. Although this is not an IAATO Member expedition, we are following the situation. The vessel is due to be operated by IAATO Member, Heritage Expeditions, next month on a voyage to the Ross Sea.

For news updates and ongoing information please contact Australian Maritime Safety Authority Telephone: +61 1300 624 633, and see http://www.amsa.gov.au/media/
Additional information on the Spirit of Mawson Expedition can be found at: http://www.spiritofmawson.com

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IAATO is pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Lynnes to the part-time position of Operations and Communications Assistant.

December 10, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Amanda is responsible for communicating IAATO's key messages and will assist in the development of the environmental and operational components of the Association. IAATO Executive Director, Kim Crosbie, said, "Her background and experience will help the Association to reach out effectively to internal and external stakeholders ensuring that IAATO continues to be recognized for its high standards and best practices in Antarctic tourism management."

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The Benefits of Collaboration: IAATO at the 36th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Brussels, Belgium

June 5, Brussels, Belgium. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) reported to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM XXXVI) last week. As in previous years, in addition to presenting statistics and estimates of numbers for next season, IAATO reported on the Association's recent work and activities. This year, there was a heavy focus on the collaborative work that IAATO has undertaken with Treaty Parties and other Observers and Experts in a variety of fields. 

Following an increase in tourist numbers during the 2012-13 season, tourism is expected to hold steady next season with an estimated 35,400 Antarctic passengers overall to be carried by IAATO operators. This is still well below the 46,265 carried during the 2007-08 Antarctic season.

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Search and Rescue Workshop Co-Sponsored by MRCC Chile and IAATO
Results in Improved Emergency Planning and Communications

May 16, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. IAATO and the Chilean Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) today provided details on a joint Search and Rescue Workshop conducted last month in Punta Arenas, Chile.

The full-day SAR seminar and interactive workshop was held April 25 in conjunction with the IAATO 24th Annual Meeting. The 75 workshop attendees included passenger ship captains, government rescue officials from Chile, Argentina and the United States, tour operators, logistics managers, expedition leaders, IAATO staff and others.

Morning presentations were made by Admiral Ivan Valenzuela of the Chilean Navy; Michelle Rogan-Finnemore of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP); David Rootes, Environmental Manager of Adventure Network International-Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions; and Dr Kim Crosbie, Executive Director (elect) with IAATO. The proceedings were chaired by David Edwards from the Office of Search and Rescue, US Coast Guard.

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IAATO 24th Annual Meeting concludes in Punta Arenas, Chile;
Antarctic Tourism Statistics for 2012-13 Season Released

May 8, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. A new five-year Strategic Plan, an expanded Membership and committee structure, and a new yacht dockside observer program were among the items adopted at the 24th Annual Meeting of IAATO, held April 22-24 in Punta Arenas, Chile. More than 130 members, invited guests and IAATO staff from 20 different countries participated.

IAATO also released its final tourism statistics for the 2012-13 season, which concluded in early April. The total number of tourists traveling with IAATO operators to Antarctica was 34,316, an increase from the previous season but not significantly different than 2009-10 and 2010-11 when totals were 36,881 and 33,824 respectively. Tourism continued well below the pace set during the 2007-08 season, when IAATO operators transported 45,213 visitors to the continent.

Tourism estimates for next season, 2013-14, as provided by IAATO operators, were also released in Punta Arenas. Overall, tourism is expected to grow 3%, from 34,316 this past season to 35,354 across the various categories.

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IAATO Announces Organizational Changes,
Dr. Kim Crosbie is named new Executive Director

February 13, Providence, RI, USA. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) today announced a restructuring of its Secretariat, reestablishing the post of Executive Director, with Dr. Kim Crosbie named to the position.

The announcement follows approval by IAATO Members of the reorganization, and the appointment of Dr. Crosbie – currently the association's Operations Director – by the IAATO Executive Committee. The changes were precipitated by the announcement by Administrative Director Steve Wellmeier last October that he would be leaving IAATO at the end of his contract period, 30 June, 2013.

In making the announcement, IAATO Executive Committee Chair Ted Cheeseman thanked the Membership for their support of the restructuring, noting, "Kim Crosbie's many years of experience in Antarctic tourism, along with her expertise in the region's political, environmental and maritime issues, make her the ideal candidate to lead our 22-year-old organization."

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