UPDATE November 25: Ponant have canceled the next two cruises of the Le Boreal as she heads to Chile for repairs.
UPDATE November 21: Here’s video released by the local authorities in the Falkland Islands.
The french cruise ship Le Boreal, sailing for Ponant, suffered an engine fire last night while sailing towards South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic. Around 350 passengers were evacuated via lifeboats as a precaution. Her sister ship, L’Austral, by coincidence was nearby and was able to rescue the passengers.
The line now states that the fire is extinguished and no passengers were hurt. Her current cruise will be canceled as passengers will be taken to Port Stanley and flown back home.
Launching the lifeboats is always a last ditch attempt. Pax and crew are always much safer on the vessel itself then on the much smaller lifeboats, bobbing around in the rough seas of the South Atlantic. At some point the fire must have been bad enough to prompt the captain to make that decision.