The MV Explorer passengers have been evacuated safely and crew are onboard attempting to stabilise the ship, according to G.A.P Adventures.

The ship is taking on water and pumps to stop it sinking.

There is concern about the environmental impact the sinking ship could have on the unspolit area.

Susan Hayes, vice-president of marketing for the tour company, told the BBC News website: “The M/S Explorer hit a lump of ice off King George Island this morning and the impact left the vessel with a crack in the hull the size of a fist.

“All passengers and crew have been evacuated, they are all accounted for and are safe and well.”

According to the BBC  most of their customers on the cruise route are usually from Britain, Canada and America.

The ship is not operated by Noble Caledonia as has been indicated in some press reports.