Burning Baltic ferry now anchored in Danish waters: navy

9th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Lithuanian-flagged car ferry which caught fire following an explosion was still burning and anchored in Danish waters late Saturday, the Danish navy said.

"The ferry ... has drifted to Danish waters and is still burning" about three kilometers (1.8 miles) from the island of Langeland, a spokesman for the Danish navy's operational command told AFP.

Two members of a German rescue team managed to access the burning ferry at around noon (1000 GMT) Saturday to complete the anchoring operation, he added.

Firefighters have decided to no longer try to put out the fire because the ship might sink if she received even more water, he said.

A blast on the upper deck of the Lisco Gloria ferry caused a fire shortly after midnight (2200 GMT) in the night from Friday to Saturday.

The passengers on the Lithuanian-flagged, Danish-owned car ferry, which had left Kiel for the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda, included Germans, Russians, Danes, Lithuanians, Latvians and Argentinians. They were all taken back to Kiel.

In total, 249 people were evacuated, including the ship's crew. Twenty-eight people needed medical treatment, and 23 were still in hospital on Saturday, all suffering from smoke inhalation. None of those on board had serious injuries.

Danish authorities said no fuel had been spilled from the ferry but that they were ready to react to fight pollution if needed.

German authorities played down on Saturday the likelihood that a "terrorist" attack had caused the blast.

"The investigation is continuing, but the first indications are that it was most likely caused by a technical fault on a lorry," Stefan Jung, police spokesman in the northern German city of Kiel, told AFP.

© 2010 AFP

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