Cruise ship rescues French solo sailor in Southern Ocean

SYDNEY (AFP) - A French solo sailor adrift for days in a life raft on the Southern Ocean after his yacht sank was rescued by the crew of an Antarctic cruise ship, Australian maritime officials said.

"I'm very pleased to confirm the solo sailor, who had been in a life raft in the Southern Ocean for the past three days, has been recovered by the cruise ship Orion and Amsa believes he is being taken to Hobart," said a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa).

The spokesman said, at this stage, there were only "scant" details of the rescue and Mr Alain Delord's condition, but a full update would be issued shortly.

The PV Orion, a cruise ship carrying 100 passengers on a tour of the Antarctic, had been slowed by deteriorating conditions, and the captain had warned the operation might have to wait until the morning.

Mr Delord was attempting to sail solo and without assistance around the world when his yacht, Tchouk Tchouk Nougat, was damaged in rough weather off southern Australia's Tasmania island on Friday.

The Frenchman, an experienced sailor, was forced to abandon ship and has been adrift in a life raft on the Southern Ocean for more than three days. Amsa earlier dropped him food and water, communications equipment and a survival suit.