A British Naval ice-breaker rescued a stranded civilian cruise ship in Antarctica last week by clearing a path through the ice for the cruise liner.
At the time of the rescue, the ships—the HMS Protector and the Norwegian cruise ship Fram—were both traveling from Brown Bluff to open water. The Protector was leading the way, breaking up ice as it went, when the Fram became trapped.
When the Protector crew realized what happened, the naval ship turned around and spent two hours breaking through the 13-foot-thick ice around the cruise ship. No one was injured and, with the Protector so close by, the passengers were never in real danger.
The waters around Antarctica have been a treacherous place for boats in the past and, with the low density of ships in the area, help can be slow to arrive. In 2007, the cruise ship MV Explorer sank off the coast and in 2011 a ship ran aground on rocks near the Antarctic Peninsula. In both cases, the passengers were evacuated safely, but given the harsh conditions and remote location, concerns remain about cruise ship safety in the area.