Cruise ship hit by huge wave heads for safety

A HUGE wave slammed into an Antarctic cruise ship with 165 people aboard, smashing a bridge window and causing damage to the vessel's controls.

The Clelia II declared an emergency on Tuesday, reporting it had suffered engine damage amid heavy seas and 55mph winds when it was north-east of the South Shetland Islands and about 500 miles from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, the Argentine Navy said in a statement.

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators issued statement yesterday saying the wave that hit the Clelia II caused a broken bridge window and some electrical malfunctions that temporarily knocked out some communications and affected its engine performance.

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"There are no injuries to passengers, although one member of the crew sustained minor injuries," it said.

The ship had 88 passengers, all from the United States, and 77 crew: 44 from the Philippines and the rest from Greece, Bulgaria, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, France, Denmark, Hungary, Indonesia, Ukraine, Romania, Britain and the United States.

It was heading for the port of Ushuia at the extreme south of Argentina at normal speed by mid-day yesterday and was in no danger, the association said.

The ship set out from Ushuaia on 30 November.

The ship is operated by Travel Dynamics International of New York and owned by Helios Shipping of Piraeus, Greece.