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When a cruise ship visits a port of call where it is not possible to tie up at a quayside or pier, passengers are ferried ashore in tenders – usually part of the ship’s complement of lifeboats.
That’s how passengers from the MV Athena (above) were being taken ashore, on the ship’s first visit to Kangaroo Island, South Australia, until the boat’s engine failed and it was carried by the tide until it ran aground on a sandbar.
A second ship’s tender, returning from the island after safely delivering its passengers, headed for the stranded boat to rescue the 50 people on board.
But that got stuck as well, and the two boats both had to be rescued by a local boat – with a flat bottom. They were all back on the ship after about three-and-a-half hours.
A spokesman for Classic International Cruises, operator of the Athena, “While the passengers were on the stranded tender boat, we brought them extra food and water from the ship to make them more comfortable,”
The MV Athena will be familiar to British cruise passengers from the time it was operated by Travelscope. It sailed to Australia in December.