The Royal Navy ice patrol HMS Endurance left Punta Arenas, in the extreme south of Chile, midday Tuesday for the Falkland Islands pulled by two tugs, according to reports from the local reports.
The British consul in Punta Arenas John Rees said the vessel is expected to reach the Falklands on Sunday where the next steps to be taken "will be decided". Apparently one of the options under consideration is for HMS Endurance to remain several weeks in the Falklands and later be pulled by a tug to Southampton where she will undergo reparations in a Navy yard. Rees said the crew of HMS Endurance were fascinated with southern Chile and promised to return on holidays. HMS Endurance last December 16th suffered the flooding of its engine room which left her without main power and propulsion. She was 350 kilometres west of Punta Arenas, on the Pacific access of the Magellan Strait on route to Valparaiso. The Chilean Navy Punta Arenas naval zone immediately set out a sea and air rescue operation helping to transfer civilians on board the Ice Patrol, which was adrift. With assistance from the Chilean Navy HMS Endurance managed to anchor in a sand bank as she was drifting towards a rocky sea bed. Two tugs later towed the RN vessel to Punta Arenas for an assessment of the damages in the local Asmar yard. Royal Navy engineers where waiting in Punta Arenas when she arrived only a few days ago. Now she's heading for the Falklands.