No casualties in Red Sea ferry fire: company

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A ferry with 1,230 passengers on board caught fire on Thursday shortly after setting sail from the Jordanian port of Aqaba but there were no casualties, maritime sources said.

The vessel, which was headed for the Egyptian port of Nuweiba, was some 15 nautical miles off Aqaba when the blaze erupted, Egyptian sources said.

Passengers were ordered to take to life rafts, and a tug and a second ferry were dispatched from Nuweiba to join the rescue, the sources added.

The director of the Al-Jisr Al-Arabi company, which operates the ferry, said there were no casualties.

"There were no casualties in the fire which broke out on the container deck," Hussein Sawub told Jordan's official Petra news agency.

Jordan's civil defence spokesman, Farid Shareh, also said there were no casualties in the fire, adding that the evacuation of the ferry was nearly complete.

A security official in Aqaba told Petra that by late morning just 50 passengers and the 80 crew members were still on board.

Egyptian sources had said that all the passengers were Egyptian but Russian tour operator TEZ TOUR told the RIA Novosti news agency that "there could be no more than 50 tourists from Russia" on the vessel.


© 2011 AFP

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