Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Passengers rescued from navy ship

HMS Endurance (copyright: Royal Navy)
HMS Endurance is currently on patrol in the Antarctic and South Atlantic

Ten passengers had to be rescued after a Portsmouth-based Royal Navy ship lost engine power off the coast of Chile.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said flooding in HMS Endurance's engine room left it without main power and propulsion.

The passengers - from the British Schools Exploring Society - were taken off by a Chilean Navy puma helicopter as a precaution, the MoD said.

They were transferred to the nearby Felix navy lighthouse.

The Chilean navy tugboat Pudu and a helicopter headed to help the HMS Endurance along with the Norwegian Sun cruise ship.

Flooding contained

The Royal Navy said in a statement that no injuries had been reported.

An MoD spokesman said: "The flooding has now been contained and the ship is currently being held in safe water by her anchor in the Strait of Magellan.

"Our top priority is the safety of those onboard.

"Royal Navy personnel are highly trained in emergency incidents and are well equipped to deal with the situation."

An investigation is under way to find out what caused the incident.

The ship's mission is to patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, where it spends seven months of the year.

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