LISCO Gloria Fire Being Investigated

Salvage experts and investigators are inspecting the burnt hull of the passenger ro/ro LISCO GLORIA to determine whether or not a criminal act is responsible for a fire over the weekend.

Just two hours after leaving the port of Kiel on October 8, a passenger onboard the LISCO Gloria reported seeing smoke coming from one of the trucks on the upper deck and attempted to contain the fire. Heavy smoke forced the passenger to flee the area. Fuel from the trucks caused an explosion, engulfing the ship in flames. Passengers, truck drivers, and crew onboard, who were headed to Klaipeda at the time of the incident, were evacuated onto other vessels and those needing medical attention were airlifted to local hospitals.

Owner of the LISCO Gloria, DFDS Seaways, says that 28 of the 204 passengers and truck drivers, along with 32 crew members, had to be treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries. No one was killed.

The vessel, now anchored 26 miles from the port of Kiel, continued to smolder Wednesday, with most of the fire contained. Officials were limiting the amount of water they put on the fire to keep the vessel from becoming unstable, which could lead to a fuel leak. Firemen worked to cool the hull to keep it from breaking up in the high heat. Officials have oil clean-up response vessels on site to contain a potential leak; so far no oil has been spotted.

Authorities have launched two investigations, one to determine if the cause of the fire was a criminal act and the other to determine what could have been done to prevent the fire. As part of the investigation, officials will check to see that DFDS was following the proper safety protocol.

Pre-trial investigations will be conducted by the Klaipeda city prosecutor’s office, since the vessel is registered in the Republic of Lithuania it is as if the fire took place in Lithuania, giving officials in Klaipeda jurisdiction over the incident.

There have also been reports alleging that unregistered passengers were onboard, hiding in the trucks bringing the total number of persons on board from 236 to 248.

In a statement from DFDS, released October 13, the company says it has lost $1.6 million in earnings from operations since the fire.

Photo courtesy of AP