Official Statement from Quasar About the Unfortunate Accident on the Parranda

We are sad to learn that the Parranda did catch fire and sink, but are at least glad that no one was hurt in the accident. We wish Quasar the very best as they deal with this loss.

Here is the official statement from Dolores Gangotena de Diez, Commercial Vice-president of
Quasar Expeditions :

We wish to inform you, our valued client, of an unfortunate event that took place earlier this week. During the very early hours of Tuesday, January 14, 2009, the MY Parranda experienced a serious fire and was lost. Captain and crew took swift action to follow established procedures, and thankfully all on board were safely evacuated without injury and are well and in good spirits. Unfortunately, the fire spread very quickly and efforts to contain it failed, resulting in the loss of the Parranda.

We know you will have questions about this incident. Our intention is to keep you thoroughly informed on all aspects of what took place from the cause of the accident, to the environmental impact. We also plan to continue to provide updates as events unfold including the response of the Galapagos National Park and actions we plan to take to address this event. We invite you to read the official incident report by clicking on the following links:

Click here to read the official incident report in English
Click here to read the official incident report in Spanish

Parranda’s Recent Refurbishment
The Parranda has been one of the flagships of the Enchanted Islands. When we sent her into dry dock this fall our intention was to upgrade all her equipment and cosmetics. Our aim was to provide you and your passengers with an unparalleled Galapagos tour product. We fully committed our valuable resources to bringing the Parranda and other yachts of our fleet to this high standard. When the Parranda emerged with new engines and completely refurbished we were more than pleased with the result and so were our passengers. We are therefore shocked at this great loss, not only to us, but to so many who loved the spirit of the Parranda. The actual cause for the fire is yet to be determined and we do not want to speculate until we get an official report from the surveying company designated by the Insurance company. We will keep you posted on this matter.

What Will Happen to Guests Currently Booked on the Parranda for 2009?
If you have passengers booked on the Parranda for the remainder of 2009, we have already reserved space for them aboard other yachts in our fleet. We fully intend to review these changes with you as soon as possible. If we have not yet been in touch with you personally, we apologize for the delay and kindly ask for your patience. We’ve spent the last 24 hours preoccupied with sorting out the most pressing matters related to this incident and assure you that addressing your passengers booked on the Parranda is a high priority. We kindly ask you to please discontinue any promotional efforts for the Parranda on your websites or printed materials. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Safety Aboard All Our Galapagos Vessels
All our Galapagos yachts, including M/Y Parranda undergo strict safety inspections every year and after each dry dock period. Our yachts are certified to operate by numerous overarching national and international regulations which include the Galapagos National Park, DIGMER and ISM (International, Classification Society and Port State Inspections etc.). In addition, our crew members and guides are very well trained in safety and evacuation procedures, which is why the crew onboard Parranda was able to evacuate all guests to safety and carry out the most important job of any crew member and captain, which is to preserve life at sea above all else. Material loss, including the loss of a prized yacht, necessarily takes a back seat to the preservation of life and the well being of both passengers and crew.

Among the inspections and inspection reports is a very detailed Conditions Survey, required by Insurers Marsh Ltd. and Shipowners, which covers our fleet. In addition, inspection certifications are required by DIGMER (Ecuador’s Marine Merchant Entity). We can assure all our clients that the Alta and Evolution (and soon the Grace), currently operating in Galapagos, meet all of these safety regulations.

In face of the loss of the Parranda, we have contracted a detailed “condition survey” that solely relates to safety. This survey will be carried out in our fleet starting this Saturday, January 17, and the report will be ready and sent to all of you late next week. The Institute that has been hired for this survey is the International Institute of Marine Surveying (England) Website: www.iims.org.uk, which is the most recognized (and largest) association of Marine Surveyors around the world. They are surveyors for various Galapagos cruise operators. These reports will be sent out to all our clients so as to reassure each of you that there are no safety concerns with our other Galapagos vessels. If there is even a hint of a problem it will be addressed immediately. This is our top priority.

Next Steps
The year 2009 already promises to be a difficult one for all of us in the travel industry. It just became more challenging for Quasar Expeditions in light of this week’s unfortunate event of the loss of the Parranda. As you may know, Quasar has another yacht, which will be more upscale than the Parranda, waiting in the wings. This vessel has a long and distinguished history including one of surviving adversity; she took part in what Winston Churchill termed “the miracle of deliverance” of the British Army from the beaches of Dunkirk in WWII and was later decorated for her actions in the Royal Navy. We’ve rechristened her the Grace in honor of Grace Kelly, who spent her honeymoon with Prince Rainier aboard her and was the Royal yacht of Monaco for over a decade.

But now we perceive that her name has another message for us. It will be through hard work, trust, a positive attitude and a little grace that all of us can look forward to making it through to better times ahead. We recognize that even in this adversity we have much to be thankful for including the well being of our passengers and crew who were aboard the Parranda, that we still offer one of the finest fleets in the Galapagos and that we operate daily in an environment that is something of a miracle on Earth. We are most thankful for your ongoing support and that of your passengers. We look forward to making it through these tough times together.

Please let us know if we can help you in any way and feel free to contact me, our President Francisco Diez (fdiez@quasarex.com) or our Sales Manager Eduardo Diez Jr. (eduardod@quasarex.com) if you have questions or if we can be of assistance in any way. Many thanks for your ever continuous support.

4 thoughts on “Official Statement from Quasar About the Unfortunate Accident on the Parranda

  1. Lou Probasco says:

    We just returned from our second Galapagos trip with Quasar on the M/Y Grace. Again, everything was wonderful and exceeded our expectations. This trip we had 6 little ones from 2-7 years. (2 nannies and chartered the entire ship- don’t worry you don’t have little babies/kids unless you charter entire ship)

    In addition, to all the wonderful animals we saw last time, blue footed boobies, red footed, Nazca, flamingos, penguins, sharks, turtles, tortoises etc, We saw the flightless commodores, spotted eagle rays, and albatrosses. The Captain and crew were wonderful and the ship was equally wonderful. To think you can be on same ship as Princess Grace was for years…….

    Great company!

  2. Lou Probasco says:

    Our family just returned from a charter on Quasar’s ship Alta for Christmas 09. What a great guide, what a great crew, what a great company. It is obvious the leadership of this company employs the best people for their staff/crew. It was first class the entire trip and I as family leader who put trip together, had absolutely no worries or problems. The ship is such a classic old world charming ship. Safety drill was very clear, serious and attention to safety issues was most important. From the 15 month old baby to the 84 year old grandpa, the family cruise was superb. To think I even worried the slightest about if I was choosing the right company is humorous now. When you sail with a quality first class company, all the work is done.
    HIghly reccomend this company.

    • Greg Findley says:

      Thanks for the feedback. There is no question that Quasar is a high-quality company. They offer great trips, and their boats, in addition to great accommodations and guides, have some of the best itineraries in the Galapagos. Quasar has had some bad luck in the past year, so glad to hear about the great trips!

      After hearing of a few accidents in the Galapagos over the past year or so, I think next cruise I take I will take the safety drill/instructions a little more seriously. We should all pay a bit more attention to those. I think I will also sleep with my passport in easy reach, so if I have to evacuate I can at least grab it easily.

  3. TravelingNinja says:

    I still have great confidence in Quasar and will book them again for another Galapagos Island diving cruise.

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