One Ocean Expeditions is in trouble.

Are you owed money or had a trip canceled by One Ocean? Contact me at peter@halifaxshippingnews.ca

The Story of One Ocean is Interesting, and began after I tweeted a link to a CBC Piece. Shortly after, I was contacted by a Nova Scotia woman, who was part of the canceled cruise. That was the impetuous for this piece in Friday’s Herald

this is all that was of a 19 day trip that was supposed to end Nov 6.

The RCGS Resolute’s latest trip was canceled after it had barely got underway. The ship sailed from Buenos Aries on October 19th at 19:30. 2 days later the ship would stop in Puerto Madryn for fuel. after 2 days, sufficient fuel could not be obtained, and One Ocean Expeditions canceled the cruise, and the ship would be returning to Buenos Aires. The Ship arrived the in Buenos Aries the morning of the 27th. and the passengers disembarked.

One Ocean then posted this Statement to its Facebook page. Despite the Note that the page is not monitored, someone is reportedly actively deleting negative comments left on the post.

One Ocean posted this statement on its facebook page.

Hot on the trail of Unpaid Bills, I have now spoken with 3 crew, I now believe OOE owes at least $1,000,000 cdn to former crew. 

Crew on board the ship work as contractors. They sign on for a contract on a fixed term. In the case of OOE, the contracts were structured so 50% of the value of the contract was paid over the term of the contract every 30 days, and the remaining 50% 60 days after completion.  While pay underway was often late, the majority of what is owed appears to be this post contract 50%. In most cases this amounts to over $10,000US per person.  there are over 60 people waiting for payment. 

By Contrast, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines pays on the 15th and 30th of every month. So if you have a 6 month contract, the value is divided into 12 pay periods – just like working a normal job. 

Two of the former crew I spoke too were part of the action that saw the ship arrested in Halifax. One who requested to remain anonymous, discovered the RCGS Resolute was in port when her new ship tied up next to it. A phone call to a lawyer began the proceeding to get the ship arrested. 

8 former crew of the Resolute were able to take part in the action against the ship in Halifax. That does little for those who only served on the 2 Russian vessels recalled by their owner in May, or were unable to participate. Those 8 were fortunate and were paid in full. 

Chris Guzzo was the named party on the Suite. He worked in the Hotelling section on board the resolute since 2016, and was owed $11,600US. He is still working in Antarctica, for another firm, and says by comparison OOE was slave labour.  His current employer has better pay, and shorter hours. 

The second crew member who wished to remain anonymous told me that some crew who were owed money received a payment of 3000$ in July. Regardless of what was owed. She is out about $12,000cdn. 

OOE is able to get staff to overlook poor conditions due to the allure of working in exotic polar locations. But it seems a fair number of staff still believe the company is good for the money, despite being strung along and ignored for over a year. The staff who don’t want to be named tell me  they don’t want to be seen attacking the company,  in hopes the loyalty and good will see them paid sooner. 

I Have also been told one ocean has yet to remit funds raised for an NGO. Cruises host auctions to raise money, and OOE’s website says 250,000us is raised every year. This has apparently been an open secret onboard the ships for at least 2 years. I have reached out to a couple of organizations that appeared on One oceans website for comment. 

One Oceans Next cruise is scheduled to depart Nov 6, The company is silent, and some passengers for that trip have flights Thursday.

UPDATE Oct 31 23:20: the November 6 Departure is now Apparently Canceled. A Person booked on the cruise, and was flying down today received word from their travel agent while sitting on their Aircraft with a Flight Delay. they have not yet received official word from OOE.

UPDATE Nov 1. I heard from Terragelida Ship Management, whom OOE had chartered both the Akademik Ioffe and the Sergey Vallov from. Ivan Budarin told me that the Ioffe was extensively damaged in its grounding, but was repaired and went on the serve the Antarctic season as scheduled.
OOE however declined to assist Terragelida in the rescue and repairs, and Terragelida is now commenced legal proceedings in London to recover expenses.

I also found another passenger from the aborted cruise, who is now on a Brizilian trip, thanks the good work of his tour operator Rockjumper Tours, whom everyone is raving about.

UPDATE Nov 2, 0848: Looking further into the arrangement between Terragelida and OOE. The Cape Breton Spectator told the story of how the arrangement really ended, and appears to not match what OOE has publicly said.

In an additional question to Terragelida, i was able to confirm that Terragelida also provided crew with the Ships. so it would have been someone working for Terragelida, and not OOE who ran the ship into the rock in Nunavut. That might explain the reluctance of OOE to pay for salvage and repairs.

One of the Expedition crew i spoke with was on board at the time of the grounding. She reported that the seabed that the ship grounded on was not on the chart.

UPDATE Nov 2, 2100: While detained in Canada in September, the ship underwent a port state control inspection. Payment of wages was a noted deficiency in that inspection. During its 48 hour stop over in Rio, Oct 14, the Brazilian Gov also performed a Port State control inspection, Finding no Deficiencies.

Movements of the ship since departing halifax.

Unlike the Russian vessels, RCGS Resolute looks to be crewed by Columbia Cruise Services based in Hamburg Germany. The registered owner of the ship since 1998 is the Bahamas registered company Bunnys Cruise and Adventure.

There is now a Facebook group setup for people who have booked trips to exchange information. Included is the letter that canceled the Nov 6th trip. OOE is still offering a replacement cruise.

UPDATE Nov 3 2345: hearing from more people owed money, and missing out on trips. I’m putting together a time line to help understand everything that has gone on. I discovered 2 additional suits in federal court. on Aug 8, OOE filed a claim against the Ioffe. on Aug 31, Inland life rafts and marine claimed against the resolute.

I also heard that a July East coast cruise had 3 stops skipped as the resolute sought fuel in Placentia Bay NL, after it was unavailable in Sydney.

UPDATE Nov 05:
It appears this law firm https://www.venetucci.net has the RCGS Resolute under arrest in Bunoes Aires Argentina over unpaid fuel bills. I have reached out to the firm to find out what is owed.
still working on fundraising issues, and now alleged safety and pollution problems.

UPDATE Nov 6:
Received an update that the ship was infact arrested November 1 in Buenos Aires on behalf of Danish Bunker traders. Have been doing alot of background research on One Ocean – i get the sense it was generally a slap-shod operation. More to come.

A New communication Has come out from OOE, stating they foresee no future cancellations. at this time. The next cruise is due to sail Nov 21. they my see the need to cancel it Nov 20th.

Copy of the Letter.

UPDATE Nov 7: I have added a timeline of relevant events. I am told that Payments to Terragelida stopped shortly after cruises resumed on the Ioffe in January 2019. Damage to the Ioffe was in excess of 7 million dollars, and 41tons of steel was replaced. machinery and Scientific equipment was also damaged.

2017  
July 31 OOE Announces the RCGS Resolute. 
2018  
Aug 24 Akademik Ioffe runs aground in the Arctic. 
Aug 27 Akademik Ioffe pax arrive in Edmonton. 
Sept 12 Akademik Ioffe temp repairs are complete, sails for inspection 
Sept 17 Akademik Ioffe sails Les Mechins PQ, where Verreault Navigation 
Sept 25 Akademik Ioffe arrives at shipyard for repairs It sounds like the length of time needed for repairs was extended by 10 days a few times.. 
Oct 16 RCGS Resolute re-commissioned in Sydney NS 
Nov 16 RCGS Resolute maiden cruise in Antarctica 
Dec 27 Akademik Ioffe leaves the shipyard and heads south to begin Antarctic season late 
2019  
Jan 21 Pax told the cruise scheduled for the 22nd would now leave on the 24th, and be modified. 
Jan 24 Akademik Ioffe Cruses 
May 18 Passengers with bookings on Akademik Ioffe and Vavilov notified of cancelations. promises refunds in 90 days 
May 21 OOE Release that Akademik Ioffe and Sergey Vavilov taken back by Russians 
May 28 Sergey Vavilov is withdrawn by Terragelida. 
May 29 P.P. Shirshov institute says they have a good contract with Terragelida ship Management. Not OOE. 
July 6 Terragelida terminates Akademik Ioffe contract. 
July 20 -30RCGS Resolute alters schedule to find fuel in Placentia Bay, skipping 3 stops on Labrador and Torngat Mountains Explorer Trip.
Aug 8 OOE Sues the Akademik Ioffe in federal Court t-1290-19 
Aug 9 RCGS Resolute Arrested in Nunavut. Sails 8 hours later. 100k owed to Atship Services. 
Sept 20 RCGS Resolute Arrested in Halifax – 8 former crew are paid 
Sept 24 Resolute sails for Antarctic season. 
Sept 25 reports that one ocean has been stringing along people in need of refunds from paid for trips on the Russian ships appears on trip advisor 
Oct 19 RCGS Resolute Cruise Departs Buenos Aires at 1930. 
Oct 22 Resolute stops in Puerto Madryn for fuel 
Oct 24 Unable to obtain fuel, OOE cancels cruise at 13:30, ship sails back to Buenos Aries 
Oct 27 RCGS Resolute returns to Buenos Aries 
Oct 31 OOE Cancels next cruise scheduled to depart Nov 6. INLAND LIFERAFTS & MARINE LIMITED filed a claim in federal court against the resolute 
Nov 1 RCGS Resolute Arrested in Buenos Aries, by unpaid Danish Bunker Broker.

Update Nov14:
A Narrative explanation of OOE’s various troubles is available at https://blog.halifaxshippingnews.ca/2019/11/problems-at-one-ocean.html
which also links to a more detailed Herald Article.

OOE Has also canceled the Nov 6 cruise with a letter.

UPDATE Nov 20:
A new letter has been received with an update.

I also received the following comments about the Fins and Fiddles trip this past summer, from a tour group leader.

STAFF
The speakers were amazing and very knowledgeable. The zodiac drivers were great and the boat crew fine. ( what I had not raise in the original letter was that the zodiac drivers turned up late and some did not have a ticket and the ship was boarded by SYDNEY officials to interview all the drivers. Not sure what it was about but looked like some of the zodiac crew not licensed. )
SYDNEY NOVA SCOTIA
No airport transfer on arrival for 15 people. Poor oversight by office. Your emergency number did not answer. ( this is a big deal when you arrive late at night – on flights they organised – and there is no one to meet you or explain anything. We all got taxis to the hotel )

DAY 1 DRIVE TO LOUISBERG
No welcome announcement on bus or general instructions over bus PA. I was not going to mention it but some of your other Canadian customers mentioned it to me and were surprised that there was no official welcome followed by instructions. ( really slack !! )

FOOD
Personally I enjoyed the food and the serving staff were excellent. From speaking with our clients and other passengers a few points came up that bear consideration. The dinning presentation formula which consisted of – one meat, one fish, one vegetarian and salad became repetitive. The meat and fish was almost always on a bed of barely pearl. Which was very nice but every night became a bit tiresome. Two of my fish meals were inedible. Either too tough or uncooked. The BBQs were great and a welcome change.
The dinning room was very hot, stuffy and noisy and all our group complained about this fact. The queues for salads were also quite long and irritating.

ZODIAC DEPARTURES
Unfortunately many of your guests ( both ours and other Canadians) had already been with other companies so they frequently made comparisons. The major daily complaint was that almost the whole boat turned up for Zodiac departures at the same time. This caused congestion and confusion. Our clients who had been with other companies said that on other boat trips the ship had been divided into groups.

For example the first group one was advised to depart at say 0900. Group two was advised to leave at 0930 etc. No confusion or congestion almost no waiting.

Some members became quite agitated with very long waiting times. One particular day my wife waited over one hour for a Zodiac departure. Far more sensible to anticipate how long it takes and have passengers attend when the Zodiacs are actually ready – as other companies do. (Does not sound too bad but at the time it pissed many people off. On one day I could see that the ocean was probably going to be too choppy. But the leader advised everyone to get dressed to go into the zodiacs. So everyone got ready, went out and then waited and waited and then told it was cancelled due to rough seas. I am not a sailor but could see in two seconds that the zodiacs would not be going out. THEN on another occasion when the seas were calm zodiacs were cancelled due to rough weather. That was when we were supposed to visit a local historic village on one of the French islands. They probably did not have enough money for the entrance fees. )

MUD ROOM
Additionally our clients said that their wet weather gear was often lost in the mud room. I have been advised that other companies have specific numbered cupboards in the mud room for passengers gear so nothing goes missing and the cabins are less cluttered.
The One Ocean mud room was generally a mess with boots everywhere. However the life jackets were generally neat and tidy.

THE BAR
far too small and many did not attend talks due to stuffy confined environment.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Not always audible in certain areas of the boat. When senior staff were in the zodiacs there were sometimes no announcements and guests went down and waited assuming that it was time.

THE LAST DAY
On the final day no one was in the bar to serve coffee and passengers were going behind the bar to serve themselves. No mugs were on the rack and passengers were opening the dish washer to get them. I should add that the coffee machine was faulty and did not often work.

SUMMARY
Finally I must reiterate that I enjoyed the trip but that I heard a lot of people complaining. Everything else aside if you address the zodiac boarding and mud room issues, it would go a long way to making the voyage more enjoyable.

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5 thoughts on “One Ocean Expeditions is in trouble.

  1. James Timmons

    I was on the failed trip. What is bizarre is the strange and unnecessary seven days of dithering prior to cancellation. In the past, when I have encountered this type of “muddying the water” approach, it was an attempt to cover up illegal activity like embezzlement long enough for the perpetrator to secure their escape. Where is the company’s owner and why are the offices shuttered? I think it is time for criminal investigators to take an interest. This behavior s totally uncalled for if this is simple insolvancy.

    Reply
  2. Marianne

    Two friends and I are supposed to be on the Nov. 21 trip, which has not yet been cancelled. I wish they’d declare bankruptcy so we could file claims with our insurance and book with someone else. This is maddening. And my heart breaks for employees who haven’t been paid.

    Reply
  3. Wendy Mae Chambers

    Given the amount of money pocketed for the Antarctic cruises it’s likely that One Ocean Expeditions is choosing not to pay its bills and plans to cancel all cruises and pocket the funds. You can initiate a criminal complaint at your local police office. Don’t let Andrew Prossin get away with this.

    My husband and I paid $20,000 for the November 6 trip to South Georgia. Our travel agent, Expedition Trips, is not helping us to get a refund.

    You can also file a fraud complaint at http://www.antifraudcenter.ca
    and try the RCMP Squamish detachment at 604-892-6100 and ask for Constable Bryant.

    Please do not remain paralyzed by false hopes that your cruise will happen and take action ASAP.

    Is someone organizing a civil suit that we could all join?

    Reply
  4. Peter from Australia

    We were on the delayed Jan 22 Ioffe sailing, which departed on Jan 24 as reported correctly above. The matter of compensation for the shortened itinerary was discussed at length among pax. At the Jan 21 evening “briefing” we were told OOE “were assessing what compensation would be offered”.

    After the conclusion of the trip and all pax dispersed around the globe, OOE offered 15% refund or 25% discount on a future booking. Boy are we glad we went for the part-refund!

    Feel for those now facing uncertainty, and hope they get a refund from travel insurance or CC if nothing from OOE.

    Reply

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