Chile-based cruise line Antarctica21 has awarded a contract to VGroup unit VShips Leisure for the technical management of an expedition vessel, Magellan Explorer.

The vessel is currently being built at Asenav in Chile in accordance with the new polar code.

The vessel represents Antarctica21’s first newbuild and will be customised for fly-cruises in Antarctica. It will join the company’s current fleet on charter agreements.

Magellan Explorer will be developed to carry 100 guests. It is expected to be delivered in October next year.

Antarctica21 president and chairman Jaime Vásquez said: “Partnering with VShips Leisure, the leading provider of ship management and related services in the cruise industry, we can focus on our distinctive core business, which, unlike most of our peers, avoids the Drake Passage by flying our guests to King George Island.”

Antarctica21 primarily provides tourism services in the Antarctic region and offers over 20 air-cruise departures on-board two ice-class expedition vessels.

“The award of this contract demonstrates how VGroup’s scale and flexibility allow us to compete and win across any region or sector.”

VShips Leisure director Per Bjornsen said: “The award of this contract demonstrates how VGroup’s scale and flexibility allow us to compete and win across any region or sector.

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“While we have the capacity and global reach to cater to the major cruise groups, independent operators and start-ups can leverage the same scale and systems to compete with these large groups.”

VGroup’s e-learning expert Marlins developed an interactive e-learning tool for Polar Code, which received approval from the Bahamas flag for training deck officers in the initial stages of the code.

In December, VGroup subsidiary VShips Offshore secured a contract to provide operations and full technical management for the floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel, Pertamina Abherka, in Indonesia.