Revised Passenger Numbers for the Canadian Arctic

(Amended 29 May 2020 following publication of the Transportation Safety Board Report on the Akademik Ioffe grounding)

As readers of Penguins and Polar Bears (Penguins) are aware, there are no formal figures for passenger numbers in the Canadian Arctic, and the information provided was the author’s best estimate based on an interpretation of NORDREG data. Numbers of cruises were based on best estimates as to turnaround ports from analysis of locations visited. The more detailed data from JP Lehnert has significantly increased the number of cruises in recent years. Passenger numbers in Penguins were largely based on passenger capacity from published information.

During 2020, J.P. Lehnert, Officer-in-Charge of NORDREG in Iqaluit, very kindly offered to extract detailed information from the original NORDREG reports to provide a more detailed analysis, as well as clarification of the Person Board (POB) figures. I was able to use the early set of data to provide a review of where ships went in the arctic, and this has been posted on the web site since late 2020. He actually went much further back than I had expected, but eventually stopped at 2003, when so few ships were reporting a POB figure that there was little point in going further back in the files. We exchanged notes regarding most years, and as a result some changes were made to turnaround ports.

The following table provides the POB figures as well as a revised passenger estimate. The crew and staff numbers are taken from the table in the Errata, which has been updated to include some ship names not previously included. Crew and staff numbers have also been reviewed, and in some cases adjustments made.

Revised Passenger and Cruise Numbers

Year POB Est. Pax # ships # cruises %reporting
2019 9,645 5,318 14 28 100
2018[1] 7,905 4,470 11 27 100
2017 8,043 4,433 13 27 100
2016 7,212 3,853 11 25 100
2015 5,349 2,991 10 21 100
2014 4,252 2,380 9 20 100
2013 4,660 2,571 8 19 100
2012 3,327 1,741 6 14 100
2011 3,495 1,986 5 16 100
2010 5,112 2,693 10 28 (8) 100
2009 3,809 2,088 7 22 (7) 59
2008 5,498 3,113 11 29 (8) 62
2007 4,639 2,591 8 28 (8) 57
2006 4,962 2,813 9 28 (9) 46
2005 3,585 2,093 6 25 (8) 68
2004 2,951 1,515 7 19 63
2003 1,960 1,051 4 12 25

Figures in Brackets under Numbers of cruises 2005-2010 are number

of these cruises undertaken by Cruise North Expeditions

A measure of confidence in passenger numbers is provided by the percentage of cruises reporting a POB figure. However, these figures are themselves sometimes questionable due to duplication, and these concerns are discussed in the Notes section that follows.

Notes regarding Ships and Voyages

Occasionally, the ship reports to NORDREG provided more than just the POB figure. Pertinent data from these reports are provided below. There appear to be occasional definition issues regarding staff, crew and passengers[2]. Also, note the number of identical reports for crew and passengers.

Year Ship Notes
2019 Roald Amundsen En route from Nuuk to Saglek Fjord reported 163 passengers and 123 crew.
  Roald Amundsen Embarked 124 passengers at Pond Inlet. Arrived from Greenland with 501 POB.
  The World Disembarked 79 persons at Cambridge Bay. They were possibly guests of the owners who had embarked in Greenland
2018 Akademik Ioffe Grounded Astronomer Islands. Reported that 116 passengers and crew transferred to Akademik Sergiy Vavilov. However, the POB on arrival at Kugaaruk was 270, which suggests 126 persons transferred. The Vavilov sailed Kugaaruk with an extra 7 passengers[3].
2016 Kapitan Khlebnikov[4] Voyage 1 reported 58 crew 24 staff and 91 passengers

Voyage 2 reported 58 crew, 27 staff and 91 passengers

  Sea Adventurer POB figures identical for consecutive voyages
2013 Ntl. Geo. Explorer Voyage 1 reported 97 crew and 147 passengers
2014 Sea Adventurer[5] Voyage 1 reported 64 crew and 130 passengers

Voyage 2 reported 65 crew and 133 passengers

Voyage 3 reported 66 crew and 108 passengers

  Sea Explorer Voyage 2 reported 66 crew and 108 passengers
2010 Clipper Adventurer[6] Grounded Western Arctic. Reported 128 persons transferred to CCGS Amundsen
  Kapitan Khlebnikov[7] Reported arrived from Andyr Russia with 60 crew and 80 passengers and presumed 2 ice navigators

Voyage 2 reported 58 crew and 78 Passengers

Voyage 3 Reported 58 crew and 100 passengers

  Luybov Orlova Voyage 2 Reported 52 crew and 56 passengers. POB figure suggests 17 staff.
2009 Clipper Adventurer Voyage 3 Reported 72 crew and 128 passengers
2008 Akademik Shokalskiy Reported 24 crew, 6 staff and 50 passengers
  Alexander von Humboldt[8] Reported 219 crew and 470 passengers. Numbers are well in excess of capacity. Passenger totals assumed 360 persons.
  Bremen Voyage 1 and 2 reported 101 crew and 141 passengers.
2007 Akademik Ioffe Voyage 5 reported 41 crew departing Iqaluit.
  Ocean Nova Voyage 1 reported 32 crew and 83 passengers

Voyage 2 reported 32 crew and 59 passengers inbound

Voyage 3 reported 31 crew and 41 passengers, but disembarked 6 crew at Iqaluit before heading to the Labrador coast.

2005 Ushuaia Reported 31 crew and 37 passengers[9] on arrival at Kuujjuaq


Passenger Number Estimates

NORDREG only started requiring POB figures in 2006, and that requirement did not become compulsory until 2010. Consequently passenger numbers prior to these years are even more uncertain than those in the last decade. Following is a commentary on how the POB figure for ships not reporting were estimated. This is of particular importance between 2005 and 2009 with Cruise North Expeditions, which performed a large number of cruises in each of these years, but did not report any POB figures.

Ushuaia 2005: Reported 122 POB on Cruise 1, equivalent to 87% of maximum capacity of 92. Assumed an average of 110 POB on cruises 2 through 8 or 74%.

Lyubov Orlova[10] 2006-2010: Only reported full POB numbers in 2010, averaging 143 passengers over eight cruises. This average has been applied to all non-reporting voyages 2006 through 2009. However, in 2008 and 2009 the ship reported 193 POB in-bound to Kuujjuaq from a cruise on the Labrador coast. These numbers suggest 118 passengers, which exceeds the known passenger capacity of the ship.

Akademik Ioffe: POB averaged at 150 from figures available in 2008, 2009, 2010 as the figures given in 2011 of 138 are suspect, being identical for all five cruises. This is also the POB figure for cruise 1 in 2010.

Bremen: POB averaged at 250 from figures available in 2007, 2008, 2009

Clipper Adventurer: POB averaged at 187 from figures available in 2006, 2009, 2010

Explorer: POB averaged at 165 from figures available in 2006, 2007

Kapitan Khlebnikov: POB averaged at 157 from figures available in 2006, 2007

National Geographic Explorer: POB averaged at 233 from figures available in 2008, 2013.

[1] Amended following Transportation Safety Board (TSB) report into Akademik Ioffe grounding, which reported the ship had undertaken a turnaround at Kugaaruk on 23 August.

[2] Reports are usually made by the master or chief officer, and if the ship owner has provided all deck, engine and hotel personnel, then the report will probably refer to these persons as crew, and the charter provided expedition staff as staff. However, if the charterer has provided some of the hotel personnel, these may not be considered “crew” in the report, and included under passengers where only two figures are given.

[3] The Cruise reportfrom JP Lehnert were, regrettably, in error. The TSB confirmed 126 passengers and staff transferred.

[4] IAATO records show that the ship never operated in Antarctica with less than 64 crew. Typical numbers were 69/70 with 11/13 staff. The total crew and staff numbers used in the report of 70+13, are close to the total figures reported in 2010 and 2016 for Arctic voyages.

[5] It is assumed that the passenger numbers probably included staff.

[6] Given maximum passenger capacity, numbers may have included staff. Note that passenger numbers were identical in 2009 and 2010.

[7] Passenger numbers probably include staff.

[8] IAATO records for this ship show that the ship never sailed with more than 300 passengers, although reported maximum capacity is 382. Crew numbers never exceeded 182 and maximum of crew and staff combined never exceeded 196, but ranged as low as 173. The POB figure for 2007 was a more reasonable 537 persons compared with 689 in 2008.

[9] The ship sailed directly from St John’s. As this was the first year for Cruise North Expeditions, passenger numbers probably included some staff and people associated with the venture, which was supported by Makivik Corporation and the Province of Quebec.

[10] One of eight small expedition ships built in Yugoslavia in the early 1970’s. All but the current Ocean Adventurer, which has received multiple refits and can now carry 132 passengers, have either been lost or scrapped. As far as we are aware, the Lyubov Orlova only had a single refit in 2006, probably cosmetic work for the charter to Cruise North. Maximum accommodation to be 110.