Video: Italian Coast Guard Responds to Fire-Damaged Ferry
The Italian Coast Guard undertook what it is calling a “complex rescue,” after receiving a distress call from Tirrenia's Ro-Pax ferry the Beniamino Carnevale. The 30-year-old vessel was drifting in the Tyrrhenian Sea in what the Coast Guard termed stormy weather.
“At 01.10 am, when the vessel was about seven miles offshore from the island of Ventotene, the Operations Room of the Coast Guard received a radio signal, during which the commander communicated a fire in the engine room,” said the Guardia Costiera command in a statement. “Two patrol boats, based in Ponza and Gaeta, were promptly sent to the area, as well as a Coast Guard ATR 42 aircraft, which flew over the area.”
The Ro-Pax, which has a capacity for up to 73 passengers had departed Naples around 8:00 p.m. on January 11 with a destination of Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia. The captain reported to the Coast Guard, however, that there were only eight passengers aboard as well as 100 commercial trucks and the ship’s crew of 22.
The fire began in the vessel’s engine room and was brought under control by the crew and the fire suppression systems. Pictures however show extensive fire damage to the whole of the engine room and rising up the funnel casing. The Coast Guard said the extent of the damage made it “impossible to restart the propulsion system and therefore resuming regular navigation towards the port of Cagliari.” None of the crew or passengers were injured in the fire.
The Italian maritime authorities considered disembarking passengers before attempting to tow the vessel to port, but the operation was being hampered by the weather. The offshore tug Guarracino, operated by Rimorchiatori Napoletani, reached the drifting vessel around 7:30 pm on January 12 and began towing the ship towards the port of Naples. The stricken ferry arrived in Naples this morning.
Classification society RINA and the Italian Coast Guard have launched an investigation into the fire.