The 136 meter long, 9250 dwt cargo vessel Mustafa Kan sank in the Mediterrean Sea off Syracuse, Sicily. The Mustafa Kan was en route to Sibenik, Croatia from Dakar with a cargo of ammonium phosphate when it suffered water ingress in the engine room. The crew was unable to control the flooding and the vessel began to sink by the stern. All 16 crew abandoned ship into the vessel’s life boat and were later rescued by the Italian Coast Guard. No reports of injuries. The Mustafa Kan later capsized and sank in water over a 1000 meters deep. Authorities state there is no immediate danger of pollution risk to the coast at this time.
The 186 meter long, 7800 dwt passenger ro-ro ferry Norman Atlantic caught fire in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Albania. The Norman Atlantic was en route to Ancona, Italy from Patras in difficult sea conditions. The ferry was dealing with waves reaching 5 meters and winds reaching force 8 making the crossing uncomfortable for the 478 persons, 422 passengers and 56 crew.
During the early morning hours, the crew was alerted to a fire that had broke out on the lower vehicle decks. The ferry had some 128 trucks among some 200 vehicles. It is believed that one of the trucks had scraped against the vessel causing sparks and ignited the fire.
The crew attempted to contain the fire closing the fire doors, but this was unable to stop the flames. The Norman Atlantic requested assistance with vessels in the area responding to her aid. However, the sea conditions prevented transferring passengers off the ferry.
The flames quickly spread through the vessel reaching the upper decks. The blaze engulfed the length of the vessel as black smoke forced the 477 persons on board outside. Passengers reported that the deck with lifeboats were hot enough to cause shoes to melt. Eventually flames would reach the lifeboats destroying them. One lifeboat was launched with 40 passengers and later recovered.
Authorities dispatched rescue vessels, but the sea conditions were extremely difficult. Even with four cargo vessels, multiple Coast Guard patrol boats and Navy vessels responding, rescue efforts focused on helicopters lifting passengers and crew off the vessel. During the following hours some 190 were rescued off the vessel. Authorities stated that rescue efforts would continue throughout the night. Reports state one person perished and another eight persons had suffered injuries.
As the fire disabled the Norman Atlantic, tugs were dispatched to take the ferry under tow to Brindisi. Four tugs arrived on scene and began towing operations.
Conflicting reports state that abandon ship order was not given until 4 hours after the fire started. Many passengers state that their cabins had filled with smoke and no alarm had gone off. Many made their way to the lifeboats not aided by the crew.
The 147 meter long, 17999 dwt tanker Gelso M went ashore at Pointe Santa Panagia, Sicily near Syracuse. The Gelso M became disabled while route to Augusta. The vessel became unmanagable in severe conditions with gusts up to 80 miles an hour. The waves and wins drove the tanker on the rocks a few meters from the shore. One report states the vessel lost control when the engine room became flooded. The crew sent out a distress call to the Italian Coast Guard as conditions prevented the crew abandoning ship. The Coast Guard dispatched two helicopters which were able to safely rescue all 19 crew on board. No reports of injuries. The Gelso M has developed a list to port after shifting on the rocks. The tanker was in ballast reducing the amount of pollution being released. An early investigation shows the vessel may have nagivated a route to close to shore for the weather conditions.
Video from ilsole24ore.com
- Italian cargo ship runs aground (bbc.co.uk)