A MAN from Bridport today told of the horrifying moment water entered his cabin on the Antarctic cruise liner Explorer.

Mic Simpson, 70, said he was woken by a 'sharp metal tearing sound' as he lay in bed on the ship.

The ex-merchant navy cook was among 154 tourists and crew on the 2,400-ton ship when it hit an iceberg and sank north of Antarctica on Saturday.

He said: "The water poured in and was freezing cold. There had been a lot of banging through the night. I didn't think it was anything to worry about until my nephew said, 'I think I can hear water running'.

"We turned on the light and the floor was wet. Water was gushing in at an alarming rate.

"Next minute the water was up to the level of the bed and was soaking through the mattress."

Mr Simpson, now living in Brisbane, Australia, was travelling with his 40-year-old nephew Scott Hastie.

They were on a tour group which had left Argentina's southern tip on November 11 for a 19-day cruise through the Drake Passage, costing from around £3,900 per cabin.

Mr Simpson said: "After three hours they told us to abandon ship.

"It was listing and getting worse and worse. I could feel it going. We took to the lifeboats and were there for five hours. It was cold and wet.

"We huddled together and tried to comfort each other and stay warm.We were drifting because out of four lifeboats, only one had an engine that worked. The greatest sight was when a helicopter came over."

After several hours bobbing on the sea amid floating sheets of ice, passengers were rescued by Norwegian cruise ship Nordnorge. Mr Simpson was due to be flown home today.

There were 152 passengers on Explorer, a regular visitor to Portland Port. The last time the cruise liner docked there was in 2003.