Cruise Ship Damaged by Massive Wave in Antarctic

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A massive wave in the Antarctic hit a small luxury cruise ship with 165 passengers and crew onboard so badly the vessel temporarily lost one of its engines.

The all-suite Clelia II was in the Drake Passage, heading back to Argentina, when the 30-foot wave washed over the deck.

The wave wiped out the expedition ship's power and communication system for a time, and shattered windows, according to various press reports. The ship declared an emergency.

The Clelia II is operated by New York-based Travel Dynamics International and owned by Helios Shipping of Piraeus, Greece. All the passengers onboard are American. One crew member sustained minor injuries.

Another ship, the National Geographic Explorer, operated by Lindblad Expeditions, happened to be nearby and was able to offer aid, including rigging a satellite phone to the distressed ship.

The Explorer also captured the bobbing Clelia II on video.



The ship is headed back to the port of Ushuia, in southern Argentina, at normal speed, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. The ship had begun the Antarctica itinerary on Nov. 30.

The Captain of the Clelia II said he had done 160 trips to the area and never seen such weather, even in an area known for rough seas.

But last year, the same ship was taken out of service for much of the winter season after it hit rocks near Antarctica's Petermann Island and a propeller was damaged. The accident was blamed on strong currents.

Note: This story has been updated.

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