15 Passengers Injured When High-Speed Ferry Runs Aground off Ibiza

ferry grounds in Spain
San Gwann ran aground departing Ibiza (Salvamento Maritimo)

Published Aug 30, 2021 5:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

A German-owned high-speed passenger RoRo ferry ran aground shortly after departing the Spanish resort island of Ibiza. Two passengers, including a 10-year-old boy, were reported to be seriously injured while many others were also taken to local hospitals.

The 167-foot-long high-speed catamaran San Gwann departed Ibiza at 9:30 p.m. on August 28 on the last run of the evening. The vessel operates between Ibiza and Formentera in the Balearic Islands on trips that typically last about 30 minutes.




According to the operator, there were 35 passengers aboard as well as 12 crew when the vessel ran hard aground on a rock outcrop in the Es Malvins Inlet.  The vessel issued a distress call after grounding and Salvamento Maritimo responded sending two vessels as well as a helicopter to the scene of the accident. Shortly after 11:30 p.m. the first of the passengers were transferred back to shore with the rescue operation continuing for several hours.

The 10-year-old boy and an adult passenger were reported to be the most seriously injured. They were both airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Mallorca. A total of 15 people were taken to hospitals, but authorities said many of them were discharged on August 29.

FRS, which operates the ferry through a Spanish company, reported that it had inspected the vessel and said that there has been no oil discharge or leaks since the grounding. The vessel remains firmly on the rocks with the company reporting that the ferry is secure in its current position. Local authorities are demanding a refloating plan by September first from the company.

The 900-ton ferry, which is registered in Malta, had commenced the runs between the two islands in June as part of FRS’s expansion of its 20-year service in Spain. The fast ferry is capable of traveling up to 39 knots with a normal operating speed of 34 knots, although it is not known how fast it was traveling at the time of the grounding. The San Gwann has a capacity of 427 passengers and 15 cars.

Spanish authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the accident.


(Salvamento Maritimo)