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Clyde helps 200 cruise ship passengers after Falklands fire
20 November 2015

Sailors from HMS Clyde provided food, water, fuel, assistance and assurance to more than 200 shipwrecked cruise ship passengers when fire broke out in their vessel off the Falklands.

In a joint operation with the RAF, everyone aboard Le Boreal was brought to safety following an engine room fire aboard the 11,000-tonne vessel north of Falkland Sound.

SAILORS from HMS Clyde bring their sea boat alongside 100 shipwrecked mariners who’ve taken to a lifeboat off the Falklands.

The islands’ patrol ship provided assistance to more than 200 souls who took to boats when fire broke out in engine room of the 11,000-tonne cruise ship Le Boreal.

Clyde picked up an SOS from the vessel and sailed at full speed – 21 knots – to the spot where the Le Boreal, carrying 347 passengers and crew, was in trouble.

It took four hours to reach the French-registered liner off the northern end of Falkland Sound, while Clyde’s crew prepare their ship to deal with possible casualties and to offer assistance.

“Once at the scene it was evident that the vessel had taken on water – most probably from the fire-fighting effort – and was listing heavily to port,” said Lt Nathan Geddes, Clyde’s marine engineer officer.

Most of the passengers and crew had taken to lifeboats – nearly 80 in smaller craft, who were winched to safety by RAF Sea King rescue crews, the rest in two larger boats, each with more than 100 souls on board. A skeleton crew remained on Le Boreal in an attempt to deal with the accident.

Clyde’s sailors established communications with both larger lifeboats and sent across her sea boat to conduct a thorough check on the well-being of those aboard. Other than seasickness there were no casualties reported.

After resupplying one of the lifeboats with fuel and ensuring that the passengers were given food and water, Clyde escorted both craft to the sheltered water of Falkland Sound. 

Once in the shelter of Falkland Sound, Clyde’s Rigid Raider and Zodiac boars from Le Boreal’s sister L’Austral transferred the passengers to the latter cruise ship.