Burnt-out ferry in “stable situation” at high sea, with low risk of sinking

The Sorrento, which caught fire on Tuesday, will be towed to a Spanish port for repair

The burnt-out ferry, in a picture taken on Thursday by the Civil Guard.
The burnt-out ferry, in a picture taken on Thursday by the Civil Guard.

Fears that a passenger ferry that caught fire earlier this week between Mallorca and Valencia may sink in the Mediterranean Sea were dispelled on Thursday, according to information from the Spanish and Balearic Islands governments.

“There is no evidence to suggest it has lost buoyancy,” sources from the Public Works Ministry said about the Sorrento, a passenger and cargo ferry that caught fire on Tuesday with 156 people on board.

More information
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“The explosions on board sounded like bombs going off”
The ferry blaze in pictures (Spanish captions)

All of the passengers and crew were successfully rescued from the vessel, but the ship was also carrying 753 tons of fuel and contaminating oils, leading to fears of an ecological disaster for the nearby coastal areas.

Now, however, the burnt-out ship will be dealt with by its owner, the Italian shipping line Grimaldi, who had leased it out to Spanish company Acciona Trasmediterránea, which operates the route between Palma and Valencia.

Grimaldi is due to communicate its plan for the salvage operation to the Spanish government, including which port it will be taken to. The plans, which were due to be finalized by 2pm on Thursday, are yet to have been made public. A spokesman for the company would only confirm yesterday that “it will be a Spanish port.”

The Public Works Ministry also announced on Thursday that “a salvage company” will work on the boat at high sea “before it is towed to a shipyard, where it can be repaired.” The Sorrento, the ministry explained, “is in a stable situation, moored to a tug hired by the shipowner.”

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