Every once in a while, cruise ships need assistance after encountering unfavorable conditions at sea. Cruise lines exploring the Antarctic are often threatened by thick ice that can cause a ship to become stuck or damaged. Luckily for one vessel out at sea that was experiencing some difficulties, help was not too far away.
The crew of the British Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based ice patrol vessel was able to rescue a cruise ship that had been threatened by the harsh conditions in the Antarctic on Jan. 15. The HMS Protector was able to break through the thick ice that had trapped the Norwegian cruise liner, MS Fram. The vessel had become surrounded by ice due to fast moving floes in Antarctic Sound.
The cruise ship rescue mission took two hours to complete. No cruise ship injuries were sustained in the process.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the main naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces, dating back to the 16th century. It is the oldest service branch and is often referred to as the Senior Service.
According to Captain Peter Sparkes, the HMS Protector was “the Royal Navy’s equivalent of a Swiss army knife.” The crew of the HMS Protector worked at a speed of two knots to break through the four meter-thick ice that had trapped the cruise ship’s bow.
“Protector’s ship’s company are highly trained and well equipped to deal with a spectrum of operations in Antarctica,” added Captain Sparkes.
The area in which it was traveling is prone to sudden changes in weather and local currents, which can cause a vessel to become trapped without much warning. There are times in which ships can become trapped for weeks as the concentration of pack ice increases, leading those onboard to become stranded at sea.
The MS Fram is lucky to have escaped without any damage or injuries to its crew and passengers. Had any injuries occurred, victims would have been in need of the expertise of a cruise ship injury attorney, such as the experienced lawyers at our firm, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. It is important for cruise passengers and crewmembers to know that they have options following an accident, regardless of the extent of their injuries, and may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering.
Although the MS Fram was built for sailing in polar waters, it is not immune to the dangerous conditions of the Antarctic. The vessel had been on a tour of the Antarctic Peninsula when the accident took place. Had the HMS Protector not been in the area, it could have been days or weeks before the cruise ship would have been freed from the ice.
Following the rescue, the HMS Protector continued with its mission to patrol the British Antarctic Territory, supporting an international inspection team that was surveying environmental sensitivity around the peninsula.