With support from the Chilean Navy, French cruise Le Soleal with 222 passengers, anchored on Wednesday some twelve kilometers from Puerto Natales, in southern Chile fiords' region, following an accident while navigating along the Kirke channel.
Chilean divers confirmed the vessel scratched the bottom of the channel damaging propeller, shaft and the rudder plus having lost lubricant oil through one of the seals.
A Chilean patrol vessel, a helicopter and aircraft were part of the emergency operation including barriers for a possible spill of oil. However no hull rupture or fissures have been found and the cruise vessel operated by Compagnie du Ponant will have to wait until Friday for a tug, according to a Chilean navy release.
Passengers on the cruise are safe and in good condition and spirit, and it will be the operating agency that decides whether they remain on board or when they are transferred, reported Captain Pedro Herrera from the Punta Arenas Maritime district.
The cruise vessel will not be able to continue on its own given the restrictions originated in the damages suffered, he added.
The US$ 134 million Le Soleal was built in Italy's Fincantieri shipyard in 2012, has a gross tonnage of 10,950, an overall length of 142 meters, 18 meters beam and 4.7 meters draught. It has 132 passenger cabins and 74 crew cabins with a total capacity of 264 pax and 139 crew members.
Le Soleal was the first French commercial shipping vessel to traverse the Northwest Passage from Greenland to Russia in September 2013. She is categorized as a ice-strengthened cruise ship.