Ship Loses Engine Crossing The Drake Passage

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An Antarctic cruise ship, Cecilia II, lost an engine crossing the Drake Passage in the Southern Ocean Monday, going adrift in rough, dangerous seas, The Adventure Blog reports.

The Cecilia II was on the return trip from the Antarctic Peninsula to Ushuaia, Argentina when it lost an engine, along with power and communications. With 88 passengers and 77 crew on board, the ship drifted alone, battered by 30-foot waves that smashed windows and engulfed the bridge. Only one crew member sustained minor injuries.

Another ship, the National Geographic Explorer, chanced upon the drifting Cecilia II and turned around to help when contact attempts failed. The National Geographic Explorer launched rocket propelled canisters containing satellite phones to reestablish communication and waited alongside Cecilia II while repairs were made.

Cecilia II regained power and resumed its journey to port and is expected to arrive safely today, The Adventure Blog says. The ship's captain, who has reportedly made 159 trips to the Antarctic Peninsula, was quoted as saying of the ordeal that he “had never seen such weather.”

–Nick Davidson

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