The 222 passengers of the stranded Ponant's Le Soleal cruise vessel finally left from Punta Arenas airport over the week end terminating their several days unexpected adventure which started last Wednesday when the vessel suffered damages in attempting to reach the port of Natales, in southern Chile.
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.
Chile anticipates a 30% increase in cruise activity in the extreme south of the country, mainly Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales, announced Lorena Araya, head of Magallanes region National Tourism Service, Sernatur.
The Chilean navy is deploying two vessels to contain possible fuel leaks, in the area where a Navimag ferry on Monday morning struck a group of rocks and is half sunk and half resting on a beach.
Punta Arenas in the extreme south of Chile is expecting over a hundred international calls this coming 2013/14 cruise season, which could reach over 150 including Puerto Natales and the domestic cruise lines, according to local authorities.
As of next 6 November Chile’s port cities will display their best since on that date the official 2012/13 cruise season begins which extends until mid April and the country has great expectations of recovering a leading position in the region.