Video of a dramatic cruise ship rescue has been released by the British military after they were called on to assist in a rescue operation of a stranded cruise liner that had become crippled in the southern Atlantic. An engine fire set the 10,000-ton vessel adrift near the Falkland Islands archipelago, a British overseas territory.
Reuters news service video on Nov. 21 said the French cruise ship Le Boreal “was carrying 347 passengers when it was crippled by a fire in its engine room. Adrift off the Falkland islands in the southern Atlantic, the ship’s crew radioed for urgent assistance.”
Royal Navy patrol vessels and rescue helicopters were sent to the scene. According to the British South Atlantic navy, 79 passengers had to be secured and individually winched from the deck of the liner to safety. Other passengers abandoned the cruise ship via lifeboats. Cruise officials said all souls on board were accounted for.
Officials confirmed the fire caused the ship to lose all power and ability to navigate, and left the 466-foot ship – classified as a superb mega-yacht – listing side to side in choppy seas. The captain called for an all-ship evacuation. A nearby sister ship liner, L’Austral, was called on to assist in passenger transfers, but the rough seas made that plan impossible. No serious injuries were reported.
Michael Fallon, UK Secretary of State for Defense, released a statement regarding the rescue:
“This successful rescue in the Falklands this morning demonstrates how our Armed Forces are always ready to help those in peril,” Fallon said, according to UK’s Telegraph News. “The swift action taken by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force crews, working with civilian counterparts, saved many lives and prevented this developing into a human tragedy.”
Commodore Darren Bone, Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, said: “We responded with everything we had yesterday to assist in what was an extremely complex and hazardous rescue operation in difficult conditions but I am delighted that we can report all of the passengers and crew of the vessel are safe and well and the vessel itself in a stable condition. This was a huge team effort involving close liaison with the Falkland Islands Government and I am enormously impressed with the reaction by all the British forces involved, it was an exemplary performance all round.”
Passengers involved in the cruise ship rescue were taken to the British forces base at Mount Pleasant where their immediate needs were cared for.