November 18, 2015
(11:40 a.m. EDT) -- An engine fire on Le Boreal, a luxury cruise yacht owned by Ponant, caused hundreds of passengers to be evacuated early Wednesday morning while the vessel was traveling on an Antarctica cruise.
According to British broadcaster ITV, the 264-passenger ship issued a distress call just after 2 a.m. while it was near Cape Dolphin, north of the Falkland Islands. The news agency reported that 90 of the ship's 347 passengers and crew were air lifted to safety from life rafts, while the rest were transferred to another ship.
The Falkland Island Government Emergency Services responded to the fire, in collaboration with local vessel agents and British Forces South Atlantic Islands Emergency Services, the MercoPress reported. HMS Clyde changed course in order to help the evacuation.
No one was injured in the incident. An investigation into the fire has been launched, ITV reported.
The ship had just started a 15-night round trip Antarctica sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina, on November 15. The cruise was supposed to visit South Georgia before landing on the continent's peninsula and visiting Deception Island. The remainder of the cruise has been canceled. Cruise Critic has reached out to the French line for details of how passengers will be reimbursed.
The line issued the following statement to ITV: "As a precaution, all passengers were evacuated from the ship. They will re-embark on L'Austral, who belongs to the Ponant fleet, situated nearby, before being repatriated quickly."
--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor