All 154 people aboard MS Explorer are safe and accounted for after the cruise ship sank off Antarctica. The ship, which was operated by Toronto-based G.A.P Adventures, collided last Friday with an iceberg that punched a fist-size hole in the ship's hull. The vessel sank approximately 15 hours later. Passengers and crew were loaded onto lifeboats, but had to endure hours of freezing temperatures before being picked up Hurtigruten's Nordnorge cruise ship. The last group of survivors arrived safely in Punta Arenas, Chile, on Sunday.
Explorer, which was built in 1969, had come under safety scrutiny before, having been cited for five deficiencies at its last inspection, including problems with a watertight door, according to the Lloyds List maritime publication. Experts also have concluded that the collision could have been avoided had the ship been outfitted with sonar, which warns of impending obstacles in the water. G.A.P Adventures said it would refund passengers the full cost of the trip. They were on their 12th day of a 19-day itinerary in the southern Atlantic and Antarctic Peninsula. (DE)