All 150 passengers and crew have now been rescued from the cruise liner Explorer, after it hit ice off Antarctica in the early hours this morning.

The ship is still listing close to King George Island in the Antarctic Ocean, near the South Shetland Islands.

Falmouth Coastguards have been helping their American colleagues to co-ordinate the rescue.

Most of the rescue were taken off in lifeboats before being transferred to another ship.

Falmouth coastguards said it was informed at 5.24am this morning of the incident involving the 2,400-tonne vessel.

The captain and five other crew members had remained on board the vessel and other ships in the area were diverted to help.

Forecasters say it is now late spring in the area and temperature would be around minus 5C today in the air, but just 1C in the sea.

The vessel is owned by Toronto-based company Gap Adventures.

Holidaymakers on the MV Explorer pay £4,500 per person for a trip that involves flights to and from Buenos Aires and then connecting flights to the port of Ushuaia on the tip of Argentina.

From there, the MV Explorer sails to the Antarctic Peninsula.

One of the British tour companies that offers holidays on the MV Explorer is Noble Caledonia, based in Belgravia, London although none of their customers are said to be on board.

Noble Caledonia says the ship is "one of the best known expedition cruise ships in the world" with a history dating back to the early 1970s when, under the wing of Lindblad Travel, she was the first custom-built expedition ship.

Ownership has changed over the years but all her owners have maintained her to a high standard.

The firm says MV Explorer is a small ship with a big heart that has sailed to every corner of the world.

Its website adds: "Her discovery cruise pedigree is formidable, over the years she has operated many cruises for us with great success.

"She is small enough to allow us to visit small inlets and bays, yet large enough to ensure a comfortable and secure voyage.

"We have the added advantage of the use of the ship's Zodiac craft which will be used almost daily on these itineraries and are ideal for landings in isolated spots."

It adds: " Life on board is decidedly informal (no black tie events), there will be no organized entertainment or usual cruise type jollifications, just talks from our knowledgeable guest speakers and expedition staff and a camaraderie that can only be generated aboard a small ship."

Have you sailed on the vessel? Comment below with your thoughts.