Chilean Navy Ship Aquiles Rescues Antarctica Cruise Ship Passengers

by OldSailor on December 6, 2008



A 38 year old cruise ship operating from the Port of Ushuaia in southern Argentina, started leaking fuel and taking on water after hitting a rock on December 04. This happened while the ship was passing through the Gerlache Strait and the ship was adrift in Guillermina Bay.

Though the vessel was not in danger of sinking, the passengers were required to be rescued. The ship was on cruise to Antarctica and islands in the icy waters of the South Atlantic. The ship was carrying 14 Danish passengers, 12 Americans, 11 Australians, 9 Germans, 7 Argentines, 7 British, 6 Chinese, 6 Spaniards, 5 Swiss, 3 Italians, 3 French, 2 Canadians, 2 from Ireland, a Belgian and a passenger from New Zealand.

Immediately on receiving the distress call, Chilean Navy’s Transport Vessel AP41 Aquiles reached the area and safely rescued all the 112 passengers and the crew on December 05. All rescued were taken to Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva naval Antarctic base of Chile.

The Chilean Navy’s Fleet Tug Vessel ATF Lautaro is on stand by near the abandoned Ushuaia cruise ship to prevent any environmental damage from leaking fuel.

It may be recalled that MV Explorer sank off Antarctica on November 23, 2007 and all passengers and crew of 154 were rescued by a Norwegian cruise ship, the Nordnorge.

Here are the photographs of Chilean Navy’s Transport Vessel AP41 Aquiles.

AP41_Aquiles AP41_Aquiles1

Here are the photographs of Chilean Navy’s Fleet Tug Vessel ATF Lautaro

ATF_Lautaro ATF_Lautaro1

All the above photographs are from Chilean Navy.

Read more about the rescue operation from The Independent.

Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

Research Vessel Polarstern on 24th Scientific Voyage to Antarctica

Update: December 06

The cruise ship MV Ushuaia had left the port of Ushuaia on November 30, for an 11-day wildlife expedition around the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. After running aground, the cruise ship sent out distress call via Inmarsat C. Read more from Inmarsat.

Here is the photograph of MV Ushuaia from Welcomeargentina.


The cruise ship is

  • 84.8 metre long
  • has a 15.5 metre beam
  • has 5.6 metre draft
  • has cruising speed of 13,5 knots.

She can navigate for 42 days, or a total distance of 13,000 miles, without any need for a bunkering stop.

Read more about MV Ushuaia, from Welcomeargentina.

Update: December 08

Chilean Navy’s Fleet Tug Vessel ATF Lautaro has successfully refloated the cruise ship MV Ushuaia on the early hours on December 08 and the cruise ship is sailing on her own with her 33 crew. Read more from PR-Inside.

Also read more about grounding of MV Ushuaia in Antarctica from ASOC here and here.

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