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The MV Explorer cruise vessel sinking in Antarctic Ocean

Friday, November 23rd 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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MV Explorer: The Little Red Ship MV Explorer: The Little Red Ship
MV Explorer sinking<br>Photo Chile Airforce MV Explorer sinking<br>Photo Chile Airforce
Passangers on lifeboats Passangers on lifeboats

Passengers and crew members are being rescued from a sinking cruise liner off South Shetland Islands coast, 25 miles from King George Island.

The drama happened when the ship, called MV Explorer, has reportedly hit an unknown object. The captain and his first officer are still on board the vessel. Another cruise called Antarctic Dream, was about an hour's sailing time away, has been diverted to assist rescue services. The emergency operation which is happening near the South Shetland Islands more than 2,000 miles south of the Falkland Islands, is being monitored by coastguards based in Falmouth. Andy Cattrell, from Falmouth Coastguard, said they were involved because they have specialist knowledge in rescue and hold search and rescue plans for the liner as part of an international co-operation programme. He added: "What they have at the moment is that all the passengers and crew are now off the vessel and are waiting for the other ship." He said it was not known what the liner had hit but added: "These vessels are designed to operate in that area. "It has obviously hit something unusually strong to damage the hull in this way." The liner, built in 1969, has a multi-national crew made up mostly of Scandinavians and Filipinos and had been on a summer tour to Antarctica. The make up of the passengers is not yet clear, but is likely to be multi-national. Mr Cattrell said he was confident that the rescue was being handled competently and professionally by Coastguard and that everyone should emerge safely from the ordeal. The Exploreris now sinking and is listing at 25 degrees. (IA)

Categories: Tourism, Argentina.

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