Around 347 passengers have been rescued from a Ponant-operated French cruise ship, La Boreal, which caught fire off the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.

The fire broke out in the engine room of the cruise ship that was on a 15-night round trip Antarctica sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina en-route to South Georgia.

The UK Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “The ship reported suffering a major engine room fire, which caused the loss of all power and left the ship drifting.

“The ship reported suffering a major engine room fire, which caused the loss of all power and left the ship drifting.”

“A north-westerly gale placed the ship in real danger of grounding on Cape Dolphin, East Falkland.”

The Royal Air Force (RAF) rescued passengers by airlifting them with two RAF Sea King helicopters and two other support helicopters including a C130 Hercules and a Voyager aircraft.

Additionally, the Royal Navy deployed patrol vessel HMS Clyde besides two lifeboats to rescue the passengers.

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According to media reports, no one was injured in the incident.

British Forces South Atlantic Islands commander Darren Bone said: “We responded with everything we had yesterday to assist in what was an extremely complex and hazardous rescue operation in difficult conditions but I am delighted that we can report all of the passengers and crew of the vessel are safe and well and the vessel itself in a stable condition.

“This was a huge team effort involving close liaison with the Falkland Islands Government and I am enormously impressed with the reaction by all the British forces involved, it was an exemplary performance all round.”

An investigation into the fire has been launched, reported ITV.