Le Boreal accidents and incidents

Le Boreal cruise ship


Length (LOA)
142 m / 466 ft

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CruiseMapper's Le Boreal cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 264-passenger vessel owned by Ponant Cruises. Our Le Boreal 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fire – 2015
  • deaths - overboard (2018 - crew during drydock in Valparaiso Chile)

18 November 2018Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On November 18, 2018, a 25-year-old male crew died during ship's scheduled drydock refurbishment in Port Valparaiso (Chile). The young man (Andrei Madalin Circhea, Romanian) slipped on an open-deck ladder and fell 23 m (75 ft) from the ship on drydock's floor. He was working on the ship as an electronics engineer.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. Port authorities provided CCTV footage that showed the accident was without the intervention of anyone else.

18 November 2015Fire Accident

On November 18, 2015, the vessel suffered a severe engine room fire accident resulting in total power loss, drifting, cruise cancellation and emergency evacuation of all passengers. The ship was in the South Atlantic Ocean. At ~2 am, while navigating near Cape Dolphin (East Falkland Island, The Falklands / Guerra de las Malvinas) it issued a distress call. A northwestern gale (strong winds up to 50 mph / 80 kph) posed real danger the disabled vessel to run aground on Cape Dolphin.

The ship was on a 15-night Antarctic Cruise (itinerary Nov 15-30) roundtrip from homeport Ushuaia Argentina. The itinerary had scheduled visits to South Georgia Island, Antarctic Peninsula, and Deception Island.

The Captain ordered all tenders, lifeboats, and rafts to be lowered and all the 347 passengers and crew to abandon the ship. They were all evacuated and transferred to the fleet mate L'Austral. In the ~7-hour-long rescue operation were also involved UK Royal Air Force and Navy vessels airlifting passengers from boats and rafts. All evacuees were 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. The cruise was officially canceled. No casualties or injuries were reported.

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 conducted search and rescue operation.

The patrol vessel HMS Clyde and two Dutch tugboats (contracted by the British Forces) were also dispatched to the accident 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 cruise vessel was soon secured by the tugboats and towed to Mare Harbor (arriving ~1 pm on Nov 19) for damage assessment.

The Le Boreal ship was taken to Europe for repairs (at Fincantieri's shipyard in Genoa Italy) via the heavy-lift vessel Kang Sheng Kou. The vessel arrived in Punta Arenas (Chile) on January 9, 2016. In March 2016, the shipowner Ponant announced that the ship will resume service in May 2016.

After the repairs in Genoa, the cruise ship was back in service on May 24. 2016. Ponant originally planned an itinerary leaving from Lisbon Portugal (on May 9). However, the company decided departure to be from port Greenock (Glasgow, Scotland) on May 24, as refurbishment works were also carried out at the drydocked ship.

On July 21, 2016, was released the accident investigation report by BEAmer (Bureau d'Enquetes sur les Evenements de Mer / investigating marine events).

  • The report cited as cause for the fire a crew's "misidentification of a clogged fuel filter".
  • The fire broke out after he mistakenly tried to change another / unclogged filter. Then fuel oil sprayed onto the hot engine and a fire erupted. It eventually spread through the engine room's copper cables.
  • The automatic "water-mist" fire protection system triggered, but the fire was too strong and continued to spread along the cables. The night watch crew was a hotel officer - without any mechanic’s rating.
  • Following the Le Boreal fire accident, the shipowner Ponant banned any crew from working alone at night on the engines' fuel feeding lines.

Follows a detailed review of the fire accident.

  • At the end of the 8 pm - 12-midnight watch, the hotel officer (licensed second engineer) was doing a regular round of the engine room. He observed that the fuel filter clogging indicator on diesel generator #4 had gone to red, indicating it was time to change the filter out. He turned a valve to switch the fuel supply over to the alternate filter, then proceeded to the control room to fill out the logbook. He talked briefly with his relief. At ~0:10 am, he returned to the generator compartment, but opened the filter housing on diesel generator #3 instead of #4.
  • As this housing was still under pressure (not like the filter he had secured and intended to open) it sprayed fuel into the compartment, striking hot surface (turbocharger) and starting a fire.
  • He shouted to his relief in the control room to stop the engines. The relief hit the emergency stop buttons for all diesel generators. The emergency generator started automatically.
  • The engine control room crew triggered the water mist fire suppression system over the generators. The Navigation Bridge team closed the watertight doors. The engines' fuel shutoff valves were closed.
  • A firefighting team was mustered. It initially believed the fire had been extinguished, but when they reentered the compartment to restart one of the diesels—Ä they found the blaze spreading to electrical cables towards the engine room's upper decks. The crew fought the fire until ~4:30 am, when all fires were extinguished.
  • During the firefighting, the cruise vessel drifted at speed ~3 mph / 5 kph towards the coast. The crew succeeded to anchor it on a safe bottom at ~4:30 am. Evacuation started shortly thereafter. It was coordinated by Falmouth MRCC (UK). All passengers and nonessential crew were offloaded by 5:15 am.
  • The patrol vessel HMS Clyde, the fleet mate L'Austral and the Dutch tugboats (Giessenstroom, Dintelstroom) responded, along with an RAF helicopter.
  • Due to rough weather, it took HMS Clyde's and L'Austral's crew several hours (including some unsuccessful attempts) to rescue and transfer the evacuees out of the boats.

The BEAmer report found that:

  • The design of the filters, which allows their disassembly while pressurized, was an underlying factor.
  • The loose lagging cover on the turbocharger was an aggravating factor.
  • The hotel officer's confusion as to which filter to open was the causal factor.

04 January 2011Propulsion / Power Loss

On January 3, 2011, the shipowner Compagnie du Ponant announced the cancellation of the next itinerary (departure January 4) - an Antarctica cruise ship charter by Abercrombie & Kent (UK cruise tour company). The decision was made after the ship's technicians found signs of wear and suggested replacement of some propulsion system parts, as well as additional tests to be made.

Officially, the exact issue was not specified. The parts were replaced after the vessel returned to homeport Ushuaia Argentina.

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