The British Royal Navy issued a press release on Tuesday that the HMS Protector, an icebreaker that patrols the Antarctic coast, had saved a Norwegian cruise ship, the MS Fram, after it became trapped in sea ice last week. Trouble is, the cruise company, Hurtigruten, says that no rescue occurred.
According to the navy's version of events, the cruise ship had been following the icebreaker through gaps in the pack ice when it became surrounded by fast moving floes up to 13 feet thick. In about two hours the Fram was released and led away safely.
"This is what we do in the Ice Patrol Ship, we are the Royal Navy's equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife—red, versatile, and always there when you need us," said Captain Peter Sparkes, commanding officer of the HMS Protector. Besides knife brand loyalty, Sparkes added that this is a "clear demonstration of the Royal Navy's global reach and operational preparedness."
The BBC reported the sensational story along with other news outlets on Tuesday, but in an email Hurtigruten spokesman Elliot Gillies denied the British version of the events. "Our reports state that HMS Protector was sailing in the area and they offered assistance to MS Fram so that the ship could sail to Brown Bluff," he said. "The ship was therefore escorted in and out of Brown Bluff by HMS Protector."
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