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'Little Red Ship' sinks off Antarctica

The Explorer, a small cruise ship, sunk in the middle of the night, forcing 154 to endure hours of freezing temperatures in lifeboats before being rescued, reported the Star Tribune Friday.

The ship, known as the "little red ship" struck ice early on Friday, before the captain called 100 passengers and the crew of about 50 to the lecture hall, according to passengers' accounts of the incident.

The passengers were told that "water was creeping in through a fist-sized hole" in the ship's starboard, causing the power to fail as water flooded the engine room, reported the Star Trib.

At about 1:30 the passengers climbed into the lifeboats and inflatable craft, and waited for four hours in the 20-degree weather until two ships arrived, one of which took in all off the passengers.

The accident occurred north of the Antarctic Circle in an "island chain that is part of the Antarctic peninsula, which juts close to South America," reported the Star Tribune.

No injuries were reported, the Star Tribune said.

The Explorer was the first cruise ship to ever sink in the frigid Antarctic waters, the Star Tribune said.