VANCOUVER — It’s radio silence from One Ocean Expeditions, and confusion and frustration are mounting.
The B.C.-based expedition company, which specializes in cruise itineraries in Antarctica, Arctic and Canada’s East Coast, Greenland and Norway, lost two of its three ships earlier this year. Just recently there was a cancelled Antarctica cruise and, according to CBC reports, unpaid staff wages.
On its Facebook page on Oct. 29, 2019 One Ocean Expeditions’ Managing Director Andrew Prossin posted this statement:
“As many of you are well aware, the past few months have been an extremely challenging period of time for our company. The sudden withdrawal of two of our three vessels earlier this year by their Russian ship owners caused a series of complex circumstances that our team is continuing to address.
“The withdrawal of these ships was an unexpected and destabilizing event, and the violation of our contract remains the subject of ongoing legal action.
“While this process proceeds, we have worked hard to maintain operations and service at the standard of excellence for which we have been proud over many years.
“Unfortunately the difficult reality is that in recent months we have fallen short of these high expectations we set for ourselves as a leader in the expedition cruise industry. As a result of the contract breach we suffered earlier this year, our company is now in a difficult period of restructuring.”
The statement ends by saying: “We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to passengers and our long-standing partners and we remain focused on doing everything possible to move our company forward.
“The last few days have been quite eventful but please be patient for a few days as we work to restructure our business.
“We will be in touch as soon as possible regarding our future plans and operations.”
Apparently staying true to its word, One Ocean Expeditions is not responding to calls and emails, including one from Travelweek.
The comments section on One Ocean Expeditions’ Facebook page is filled with messages from worried passengers who aren’t sure if their trips are going ahead.
Says Stewart Campbell: “We all understand that times have been difficult for One Ocean, however to continue the silence and non-communication about the refunds you owe to passengers, staff and countless other creditors is unacceptable! The damage you are doing to your brand is almost irreparable now. Until you repay everyone you owe money – in full – nobody can trust your company again. Please issue a clear and unequivocal statement, immediately, explaining when you will repay clients for the trips you have cancelled. That you have been taking clients’ money and supplier credit the past several months, knowing your own difficulties may well be construed by many as criminal.”
One Ocean Expeditions is not licensed with Consumer Protection B.C., “nor did they need to be,” says Consumer Protection B.C.’s Communications Coordinator, Amanda Parry.
However Consumer Protection B.C. is aware of the situation, she adds.
Says Parry: “I can tell you that we’ve received a handful of calls from impacted travelers about this issue. We have been encouraging those consumers to start by going back to their credit card provider to request a reversal of the charges. If people have insurance, we suggest they contact their insurance company to make a claim.”
Consumer Protection B.C.’s site is consumerprotectionbc.ca.
Parry adds: “If any impacted travellers booked their trip with One Ocean Expeditions through a licensed B.C. travel agency, they may be eligible to make a claim to the Travel Assurance Fund (TAF). Licensed travel agents may also be eligible to claim against the TAF.”