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ANTARCTICA XXI Announces Construction of a New Polar Expedition Vessel

Story by Antarctica21


The New 50-Cabin MV Magellan Explorer to Begin Service to Antarctica in November 2019

Antarctic air-cruise specialist, ANTARCTICA XXI, announces the addition of MV Magellan Explorer to its fleet of small expedition vessels.

The ship will be delivered to ANTARCTICA XXI for the 2019-2020 Antarctic season, introducing a modern new vessel that is custom built for the company's innovative fly and cruise Antarctic expeditions.

"MV Magellan Explorer is the first small passenger ship to be purpose built for Antarctica in the last 14 years," states Jaime Vásquez Sapunar, ANTARCTICA XXI'S President and Chairman. "To ensure we continue to offer an exclusive boutique experience to our guests, we will limit the capacity to a maximum of 70 guests for each Antarctic air-cruise departure."

Built by Santiago-based ASENAV, with interiors by the Chilean company Enrique Concha & Co., the ship features 50 passenger cabins in five categories of accommodation, including dedicated single cabins. The cabins are very spacious, ranging in size from 40 m2 (440 sq. ft.) to 20 m2 (220 sq. ft.). All double cabins have two twin beds that can be configured as one queen-size bed, offering great flexibility to accommodate guests. Forty-two cabins feature a large window and a private balcony, while 8 cabins feature a porthole. Sixteen adjoining cabins can be configured as 8 two-room suites to offer guests the most spacious accommodation. All cabins feature a private bathroom and a sitting area.

Public areas include a large forward-facing observation lounge that is also suitable for the delivery of briefings and educational presentations, an observation deck, a dining room that accommodates all guests and expedition staff in a single sitting, two meeting rooms, a gift shop, a protected outdoor barbecue area, a gym, and a sauna. The bow of the ship is accessible to guests to offer expansive views during exploration. Adventure activities, such as kayaking and snowshoeing, will be available to guests.

MV Magellan Explorer has been planned specifically for the operation of the Company's Antarctic air-cruises, with many technical features designed to support long periods of time away from port. Extended fuel range, comfortable crew quarters, spacious storage areas for provisions and supplies, and a well-equipped workshop for equipment maintenance are just some of the features that make MV Magellan Explorer the ideal vessel for fly and cruise operations.

The ship is being built to the latest Polar Code Specifications established by the International Maritime Organization and carries a Polar Class 6 ice-class (Lloyd's Register PC6). For comfortable navigation, the ship features stabilizers; for maneuverability, it features bow and stern thrusters.

Specific measures have been taken to minimize MV Magellan Explorer's carbon footprint. The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art efficient engines and meets MARPOL's stringent Tier III emission standards, the most stringent standards in the industry. To minimize fuel consumption, a waste heat recovery system recycles the heat produced by the ship's engines and repurposes it to power the ship's heating system and to warm the water used onboard.


Passengers: 100 maximum

Staff and crew: 60

Length: 90.7 m (298 ft.)

Breadth: 16.2 m (53 ft.)

Draft: 4.3 m (14 ft.)

Gross tonnage: 4,900

Ice-class: LR PC6

Propulsion: 2X MAN main engines, total 3,440 kW

Speed: 14 knots

Flag: Bahamas

For this project, ANTARCTICA XXI built an alliance with two strategic partners that bring extensive ship-building and ship management expertise to the venture. In partnership with these two companies, ANTARCTICA XXI has created a new entity, Minke Shipping Company Ltd., owner of the ship. Minke, in turn, provides the ship on an exclusive, long-term charter to ANTARCTICA XXI.


Established in 2003, ANTARCTICA XXI is a pioneering operator of Antarctic air-cruise expeditions that combine a flight over the Drake Passage, known for rough seas, with an adventurous expedition cruise aboard a small expedition ship.


With a ship-building history spanning more than 42 years, Santiago, Chile-based ASENAV has built more than 180 ships, including expedition ships such as the Stella Australis and Nomads of the Sea. ASENAV is currently building the 200-passenger Ventus Australis.

About Enrique Concha & CO

Enrique Concha & Co. is a renowned Chilean design and architectural studio. Among the many projects completed are the expedition ships Stella Australis, Nomads of the Sea, and a number of luxury hotels, including the Singular Patagonia hotel and the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa.

MV Magellan Explorer