Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  23 November 2007 - The Brightest Maritime Daily

This view of EXPLORER was taken by Stuart Cameron off Armadale, Scotland, this year

MV EXPLORER Cruise Ship Sinking In South Atlantic
All passengers and crew safe after listing ship holed, iceberg suspected...

One of the world's most popular and famous exploration cruise vessels, the aptly named mv EXPLORER, is currently sinking in the South Atlantic.

The ship is believed to have struck part of an iceberg which punched a hole 'no bigger than a fist' according to many reports. Despite the small amount of damage water poured into the vessel and she developed an alarming list.

All passengers and most of the crew were safely evacuated, taking to lifeboats in the freezing seas, whilst her Swedish captain and the mate stayed aboard to try and rescue the vessel by pumping out water. This proved to be a fruitless task as the ship heeled over ever further and they too had to abandon ship.

The incident is said to have happened in the Bransfield Strait, where the depth is about 2000 feet, at 5.45 am (GMT),  26 miles from King George Island in the South Shetlands.

Another vessel in the vicinity, the cruise ship NORDNORGE rescued the ships passengers and crew.

The 2398 grt Liberian registered vessel was built in 1969 in Finland and is owned by GAP Shipping Co Ltd, Bahamas and operated by GAP Adventures based in Toronto. Her ISM managers are V Ships Leisure of Monaco

All 100 passengers and her complement of crew are reported to be safe and well.

The incident has of course sparked many questions as the vessel is designed to cope with icy seas (it is claimed she was the first cruise ship to negotiate the dreaded Northwest Passage) and although she is an elderly vessel, an MCA spokesman is reported to have said that she was in very good condition. She had failed inspections at Greenock in May of this year, according to Equasis, on five counts:

Deficiencies recorded were: two on fire safety measures; one on life saving appliances; one for ship's certificates and documents, and one deficiency recorded for structural safety. She was seen at the time in Greenock's JWD dock for repairs.

Alarming as this sounds, the MCA said all were rectified satisfactorily and she would never have been allowed to leave port if this had not been the case.



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