Thursday, 31 July 2014

Silversea expedition passengers prevented from entering remote Russian port

Silver Discoverer, seen earlier this year in Australia's Kimberley region

Boutique expedition ship Silver Discoverer, carrying about 85 passengers, has been refused entry to a remote port in the Russian Far East.

The ship docked in the former military port of Provideniya during a 12-night cruise from Seward, Alaska, to Nome.

Passengers and crew had all obtained the necessary visas and were cleared by immigration, according to Silversea, but authorities from the autonomous Chukotka region ordered everyone to remain on board.

It is not known whether the action was the result of growing east-west tension after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. A report in the Siberian Times, however, said the local officials were following instructions from Moscow.

The ship made a number of successful Russian port calls during the previous voyage, documented on Silversea’s expedition blogs.

Discoverer, which joined the Silversea fleet earlier this year,  replaced the Russian visit with alternative ports in Alaska. It is expected that the forthcoming 14-night cruise from Nome, departing today, will also be affected.