Did The World give up on the Northwest Passage?

Reader Peter Norman has been tracking the residence ship MS The World, which was attempting to make a “rare and exciting Expedition along the Northwest Passage.” However, unexpectedly thick ice may have thwarted their plans.

MS The World, in Melbourne – Courtesy Wikipedia


Peter noticed on the Cruise Mapper web-site that The World appears to have turned back, seemingly abandoning its cruise through the passage. When I (Robert) checked the website a couple of hours ago, The World was represented by an arrow pointing East, which would indicate that it had indeed turned back.

The trip was billed as a fantastic journey. According to The World website, its residents would begin this year on the shores of South Africa before heading for Madagascar. They would then spend the winter months exploring the beaches, lagoons, and reefs surrounding the islands of the Indian Ocean. After that, they would move on to Sri Lanka, India, Oman, and Israel.

Come springtime, they were scheduled to travel the Mediterranean, then journey to the United Kingdom and the Faroe Islands before heading north. From Iceland and Greenland they were take a “rare and exciting Expedition along the Northwest Passage.”

After traversing the Northwest Passage, they would spend fall in East and Southeast Asia, finally arriving in Hong Kong just in time for a glorious New Year’s Eve celebration.

I’m guessing that the sharp upturn in Arctic sea ice extent (as shown below), has thwarted their Northwest Passage plans.

Update on September 4.
On the cruisemapper website it looks like they may have made it through.


Arctic Sea Ice Extent – Image courtesy National Snow and Ice Data Center, Univ of Colorado, Boulder

When I checked the cruisemapper website a few minutes ago, The World was represented by a circle, which I’m guessing means it has stopped moving and is now in port. I will check its progress again tomorrow and bring you up-to-date.

You can see the map of their proposed journey here:


Thanks to Peter Norman for this info

Peter has also been tracking two other vessels, the  MS Roald Amundsen and LAustral.

About The World:
According to Wikipedia, The World is the largest privately owned residential yacht. The residents, from about 45 countries, live on board as the ship travels, staying in most ports several days. Some residents live on board full-time while others visit periodically throughout the year.

27 thoughts on “Did The World give up on the Northwest Passage?”

  1. Peter Norman, if you could add any update, please jump in here. It appears the icebreaker CCGS Terry Fox is headed west toward The World and Roald Amundsen near Cambridge Bay. Is the ice west of their location and in Coronation Gulf thin enough for the Terry Fox to lead them through it?

    • must be bloody rich buggers!! private owned residential
      who owns it I do wonder???
      and i really hope they get stuck
      but of course money can bail morons out everytime.

    • yeah I can only find windspeeds of 138 or so up pretty high
      surface isnt much over the 100 to 110ish
      still pretty foul for the poor buggers under it for so long;-(
      downgraded to a 4 I just read on aussie Bom reports
      whjat the planes flying through report is NOT what the actual people on the ground will experience by a long shot.
      its misleading and cruel to imply they will.

  2. Bob Morton, thanks for the link. I’ve been scouring the internet for some raw data on this hurricane. Call me a cynic but I don’t trust anything I hear or see on the MSM outlets. I’ve suspected all along that there have been some shenanigans going on here.

  3. If the cruise ship captain read some history about the failed 1845 franklin english expedition through that permanent ice covered land and sea.they would have never ventured in our Canadian true north..129 souls perished that faithful year.,flash frozen freeze dried bodies have been discovered..skin is still distinguishable.from the sailors..to this day..in their cold frozen above ground resting place (permafrost),that’s how cold it is, way up north!!!

    • Yes, Igor, I too thought of the Franklin Expedition when I read this item. You have probably read that the “Terror” was recently found under 80 feet of water. Apparently things are so well preserved that they think that documents may be recovered.

      Wasn’t it in the 1940’s that the RCMP boat made it through the Passage? I thought the ice was supposed to have been so much thicker back then?

      On this subject, I think that Stan Rogers song should be our national anthem, in place of the dirge, “Oh Canada”. (“In a land so wild and savage”).


    • Also, remember Fridtjof Nansen and his attempt to drift over the north pole in 1893 – 1896. The trip from the north back to land were repeated by Ausland in 2007. Nansen had more open water to cope with than Ausland.

  4. It would be so beneficial to mankind if current useless ice-covered land (Greenland, North Canada, Antarctica) becomes habitable (again ?) and ships could travel by ice-free polar routes!

  5. It’s not uncommon for a Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker to rescue foolish seafaring attempts to sail on through what is generally UnPassable.

    This article mentions several failed “NorthWest Passage” missions occurring during the same time period in 2018..

    Canadian Coast Guard takes 11 hours to rescue 2 persons on Bellot Strait ice floe after 11-meter S/V ANAHITA (FR) sinking..


  6. Laurie, I’ve been getting continuous AIS track from The World via VesselFinder.com and the latest position is 47 minutes old; the ship is heading west again after backtracking to Cambridge Bay yesterday. No indication of turning off AIS. Perhaps a passenger medevac via the airport? Noting that the passengers are on the wealthier side, perhaps someone just decided to get on or off…

    Looks like CCGS Des Groseilliers is heading to Amundsen Gulf in the wake of The World and Roald Amundsen. There seems to be some drift ice west of it so perhaps the icebreaker will wait for the cruise ship(s) there and provide escort as (if) required.

    • ” Noting that the passengers are on the wealthier side, perhaps someone just decided to get on or off…”

      Yea, I bet that it is full of homeless people. Probably the rich people of Southern California decided to clean LA and send the homeless on a cruise!

  7. For those who live in Britain and don’t trust the MSM and in particular the BBC, may I recommend a book called ‘BBC Brainwashing Britain’ by David Sedgwick, published by Sandgrounder. (See Amazon) It lays out in black and white and in good order, what many of us have been thinking for decades — definitely brainwashing Britain for their own ideals.

  8. Ian
    It was the RCMP ship the St. Roche that made it through in 1940-1942. Within that warm spell there would have been less ice and more time on the open season to get through.

  9. I find it funny that cruise ships and ice breakers smashing the sea ice to bits are proof of CO2 induced global warming – ice breaking didn’t happen 50 or 100 years ago and yet sea ice volume area clearly waxed and waned – idiots !

  10. Why did they not just go through the NE passage instead? That has been open regularly the past few years…

    • A remnant of a Chinese fleet apparently sailed home via the NE Passage after circumnavigating Greenland in 1422 (1421, The year China discovered America. Gavin Menz, 2002.

  11. MS The World is now north of Point Hope Airport on the western tip of Alaska & MS Roald Amundsen is following.

    However, I am surprised to see three ice breakers, Canadian, Swedish & Finnish in Canadian waters, plus four Russian & one Norwegian icebreakers at sea between Greenland & Bolshevik Island. There are six other Russian icebreakers moored along the coastline of Northern Russia.

    Whether the Russians usually deploy their icebreakers this early, I do not know? In 2015, it was reported that Vladimir Putin was not a believer in AGW & in the same year, there were huge fires in Siberia, although little reported in the state media.


    • Let’s do an active icebreaker head count (Russian unless indicated otherwise) from east to west above the Arctic circle using Vesselfinder:

      – South Korean polar research vessel Araon is on a scientific mission in the Arctic
      – icebreakers Novorossiysk and Dikson are in Pevek after having supported the towing of the floating nuclear power plant; Novorossiysk is also on general NSR duty until October
      – river icebreakers Kapitan Borodkin and Kapitan Babichev seem to be plying along the Russian Arctic coast together with a number of ageing river cargo ships and tankers
      – nuclear-powered icebreaker Vaygach is off the Bolshevik Island, supporting a Russian Navy exercise (the naval ships obviously don’t show up in AIS but it was in the news)
      – icebreakers Aleksandr Sannikov and Andrey Vilkitsky are on year-round standby around the Vorota Arktiki oil terminal
      – river icebreaker Kapitan Evdokimov is in Sabetta, having supported survey operations in the Gulf of Ob
      – icebreaking offshore vessel Kigoriak is on standby near the drilling rig Arcticheskaya
      – icebreakers Baltika and Murman are on standby near the drilling rig Nan Hai Ba Hao
      – icebreaker Toboy is on year-round standby around Varandey oil terminal
      – icebreaking offshore vessels Yury Topchev and Aleut are on year-round standby around the Prirazlomnoye platform
      – the Norwegian patrol vessel KV Svalbard is returning to mainland from Svalbard following the trip to the North Pole and other operations around the archipelago
      – the Norwegian polar research vessel Kronprins Haakon is on a scientific mission between Svalbard and Greenland
      – the Swedish icebreaker Oden is on a return voyage to Sweden from a scientific deployment in the Canadian Arctic
      – the Estonian icebreaker Botnica is on a summer deployment for Baffinland at Milne Inlet until the Baltic icebreaking season starts
      – CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier is supporting hydrographic operations
      – CCGS Captain Molly Kool and CCGS Des Groseilliers are in Cambridge Bay
      – CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is out at sea, heading to “high east Arctic”
      – CCGS Terry Fox is off Paulatuk
      – USCGC Healy is on a scientific mission in the high Arctic above Alaska

      That should be all; everyone else is in port somewhere.

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