Tourism disaster in Antarctica feared

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New rules are needed for tourist ships visiting Antarctica to prevent a disaster in the world's most isolated region, according to New Zealand foreign affairs minister Murray McCully.

"I am greatly concerned that unless we take action, there will be a serious maritime casualty involving a tourist vessel in Antarctica and we will be faced with a humanitarian and environmental disaster," McCully said.

A three-day meeting of about 80 experts from the 47 Antarctic Treaty countries started Wednesday in Wellington, aimed at drawing up new regulations for tourist ships visiting Antarctica.

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