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Massive Multi-Agency Response to Fire Aboard Ro/Ro Stena Europe

Ferry Stena Europe at port at night with fire hoses spraying at her stack
Firefighters apply boundary cooling water to Stena Europe's stack (Fishguard RNLI)

Published Feb 13, 2023 6:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday night, three RNLI rescue stations and multiple government agencies responded to a report of an engine room fire aboard a ro/ro ferry at the small port of Fishguard, Wales. 

At about 2130 hours, the Fishguard, St Davids and New Quay RNLI stations received a call from HM Coastguard reporting an engine room fire aboard the ro/ro Stena Europe. At the time, the ferry was located about two nautical miles from the harbor. Response assets from HM Coastguard, the local fire service, Welsh police and the Welsh Air Ambulance also headed for the scene. 

Conditions were calm, and the Fishguard RNLI rescue boat arrived first. By that time, the fire had been extinguished by the crew, but the vessel was running on its starboard side engines only. Stena Europe made her own way into the harbor, where a tug helped her to berth alongside the ferry terminal. All 88 passengers and 59 crew were able to safely disembark, and emergency services personnel boarded the vessel from shore to evaluate the aftermath of the fire. 

Image courtesy HM Coastguard - Moylegrove

"Thankfully the well trained staff aboard the ferry were able to control the situation and the Stena Europe was able to make its way safely into the harbor. As a volunteer crew we train for these situations in the hope that they’ll never occur, however it was good to see a smooth multi-agency response being coordinated," said Fishguard RNLI coxswain Steve Grant.

In a statement, Stena Line said that the fire aboard the vessel was small, and it was quickly contained with no harm to passengers or crew. 

"The Stena Europe was on route to Fishguard from Rosslare when the crew were alerted to a small fire on one of the ship’s engines. The crew immediately initiated the ship’s safety protocols . . . before quickly extinguishing the fire without further support or incident," Stena said. "A short delay incurred whilst the area was made secure before continuing on passage to Fishguard arriving 30 minutes behind schedule."

There was little damage, but the vessel has been removed from service while an investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.