1. ITV Report

Royal Navy vessel rescues Antarctic cruise liner

HMS Protector freed the Norwegian cruise liner MV Fram on January 14. Photo: Arron Hoare/MoD/Crown Copyright

A cruise ship travelling off the coast of Antarctica was guided to safety by a Royal Navy vessel, after becoming trapped by massive floes of floating ice.

Norwegian cruise liner MV Fram was surrounded by densely-packed ice as it carried passengers through the Antarctic Sound.

Norwegian cruise liner MV Fram, off the coast of Antarctica Credit: Sub Lt Stacey Royal Canadian Navy/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

The liner, which can accommodate up to 318 passengers and has a crew of 77, was following the ice-breaker HMS Protector through breaks in the ice, but became surrounded by a number of a fast-moving floes, up to 13 feet thick.

The Royal Navy vessel turned back to break up the ice, allowing the liner to continue its journey. The operation took two hours.

HMS Protector off the coast of Antarctica Credit: Arron Hoare/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

HMS Protector is on patrol of the British Antarctic Territory, supporting an international inspection team's surveys of environmentally sensitive sites around the Peninsula.

Commanding officer Captain Peter Sparkes, said:

This is what we do in the ice patrol ship. We are the Royal Navy's equivalent of a Swiss army knife - red, versatile and always there when you need us.

Norwegian cruise liner MV Fram, seen from HMS Protector. Credit: Arron Hoare/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

The ship, which serves as the UK's presence in Antarctica, will complete three further five-week patrols of the continent before heading north at the beginning of April.

MV Fram seen from HMS Protector. Credit: Sub Lt Stacey Royal Canadian Navy/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire