L'Austral accidents and incidents

L'Austral cruise ship


Length (LOA)
142 m / 466 ft

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CruiseMapper's L'Austral cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 264-passenger vessel owned by Ponant Cruises. Our L'Austral accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • ship grounding - 2017 (New Zealand - The Snares, Milford Sound)
  • boat rescue - 2015 (the fleet mate Le Boreal near East Falkland Island), 2016 (tour boat sunk in Ilulissat Icefjord Greenland)

16 March 2017Structural and Technical Issues

On March 16, 2017, while the ship was in the South Pacific Ocean, en-route from Port Vila (Vanuatu) to Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia), the current itinerary route was altered due to safety concerns in the Sulu Sea (near Sabah).

The vessel was forced to skip Borneo and was rerouted to the Philippines. The current cruise was canceled (3 days early) to allow the mega-yacht to enter drydock in Manila Philippines (March 16-19) for full hull inspection and repairs after the two aground accidents in 2017.

After stopping at Rajah Ampat (Indonesia), the ship headed directly to Manila City, where all passengers were accommodated in 5-star hotels for 3 days and provided with complimentary land-based activities. The next scheduled cruise (March 19) departed on time, but from Manila instead of Kota Kinabalu.

09 February 2017Ship Grounding

On February 9, 2017, upon entering Milford Sound (south of Dale Point, New Zealand), the ship struck a rock. The liner was en-route from Lyttelton to Dunedin, and southwest of South Island NZ. The grounding occurred at ~6 am and resulted in only minor hull damages. No injuries, water ingress or sea pollution were reported.

The ship didn't receive any major hull damages, but the Captain decided to call at Bluff NZ for hull inspection. All passengers were disembarked and provided with complimentary town tour. After the NZ authorities and crew made a survey of the vessel, all passengers were allowed to board and continue on the voyage. On February 11, NZ’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission boarded the mega-yacht in Dunedin NZ to check the navigation system.

09 January 2017Ship Grounding

On January 9, 2017, the cruise ship entered the restricted zone in The Snares (subantarctic islands in New Zealand) and its stern struck an uncharted rock, approx 220 m (720 ft) from shore. The hull was breached, but the damage was limited to one ballast water tank (fortunately, empty at the time). No injuries or sea pollution were reported.

The grounding occurred during the passenger tendering. The vessel had to make an unscheduled stopover in Bluff NZ for inspection and repairs.

(law news) In October 2018, the shipowner Ponant Cruises was fined USD 70,000, and ship's Captain (Regis Daumesnil) was fined USD 30,000 for grounding the liner near the protected Snares Islands (ranked "minimum impact islands").

Ponant pleaded guilty to entering a 300 m (990 ft) exclusion zone around The Snares, which was a breach of NZ's Resource Management Act 1991. The Captain pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary danger to passengers and crew under NZ's Maritime Transport Act 1994, and also to enter the 300-m exclusion zone.

14 August 2016Boat Rescue

On August 14, 2016, at ~1 am, there was a powerboat sinking accident while the ship was anchored in Ilulissat Icefjord (Greenland). The tour boat was hired for a shore excursion and was carrying a total of 23 cruise passengers plus 3 crew. All were rescued by nearby boats. The cruising yacht was located ~100 m / 300 ft away and also launched inflatable boats for the rescue, No injuries were reported.

18 November 2015Boat Rescue

On November 18, 2015, the vessel took part in the search and rescue operation, assisting the fire damaged fleet mate Le Boreal disabled in a major engine room fire accident. Following the ~7-hour long rescue operation, to L`Austral were transferred all evacuated passengers and crew. They were then transported to RAF Mount Pleasant (Royal Air Force station), where were provided with food, clothing, and medical care. Later, from Port Stanley, all passengers were flown back home.

In the conducted rescue operation were also involved UK Royal Air Force and Navy vessels. The Falklands' Royal Air Force (RAF) scrambled 2 rescue plus 2 support helicopters, also one Lockheed C-130 Hercules (military transport aircraft) and one A330 Voyager aircraft for command and control of the operation.

The patrol vessel HMS Clyde and two tugboats were also dispatched to the area. A total of 79 people were hoisted from decks and from 2 liferafts in the water. HMS Clyde assisted another 2 lifeboats with over 200 people. All passengers and crew were accounted for. The disabled Le Boreal was soon secured by the tugboats and brought alongside in The Falklands for damage assessment.

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