Friday, November 23, 2007

M/V Explorer Sinking

The M/V Explorer is sinking in the Antarctic off the South Shetland Islands after the ship reportedly struck something underwater. Reports say all 100 passengers and 50 of the 52 crew members were evacuated into lifeboats and are being picked up by other ships arriving on the scene. The captain and first officer have remained onboard for the time being, and at last report, the ship was listing at 25 degrees.

A spokesperson for the tour operator which had chartered the ship, said the 2,400-ton ship had struck ice off King George Island and it had opened a gash in the hull several inches wide. She said that pumps were being used in an effort to stop the sinking, but a Coast Guard spokesperson said the ship is expected to sink.

Officials were first advised at 12:24am, eastern standard time in the US. The 1969-built is owned by Toronto-based GAP Adventures.

UPDATE 8pm: Reports are now quoting a Chilean navy spokesperson as saying the ship has completely sunk. All passengers and crew members had been safely evacuated and rescued before the sinking.