Cruise Critic reports that Ponant has diverted its cruise ship, L’Austral, because of safety concerns due to two separate accidents earlier this year when the French luxury cruise ship struck objects while sailing.
In January, the cruise ship struck a floating object in the Sub Antarctic Islands. In February, L’Austral struck an undersea rock while sailing in New Zealand, causing damage to its hull.
Ponant chose to avoid the ship sailing into the Sulu Sea. L’Austral was forced to skip its port visit to Borneo.
The vessel’s certification society reportedly requested Ponant to undergo an inspection in a port near Manila, from March 16 to 29, 2017, in order to check the ship’s hull for damage.
L’Austral has been in the news several times in the last two years. In August 2016, an excursion vessel carrying two dozen passengers from L’Austral began taking on water and eventually sank in waters near Greenland. The cruise passengers were rescued at the last minute.
In November 2015, L’Austral rescued several hundred passengers from another luxury cruise ship operated by Ponant, Le Boréal, which caught on fire when the ship was sailing north of the Falkland Islands. The fire and evacuation efforts were far more complicated than initially reported.
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Photo credit: Orlovic – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.