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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 29 January, 2020
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Cruise ship catches fire while out on the Caribbean Sea

Passengers were rescued and no major injuries have been reported.

More than 500 passengers were evacuated from the ship.
More than 500 passengers were evacuated from the ship.
Image: Carlos Giusti

NEARLY 500 PASSENGERS were rescued from a burning ferry off the US territory of Puerto Rico today, with no major injuries reported.

The captain and crew of the Caribbean Fantasy, a passenger and cargo ferry belonging to America Cruise Ferries, remained on board the vessel despite an active engine room fire, Puerto Rico’s fire chief Angel Crespo said.

Crespo said no fatalities had been reported and the nearly 500 passengers aboard the ship were being taken to safety in San Juan.

He said about half had made it to port, and the others were on the way.

“The fire reportedly began in the engine room of the ship and is spreading to other compartments on board,” the US Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Coast Guard said multiple air and surface craft were dispatched to rescue passengers, including a coast guard cutter.

Fire, pilot and tug boats also responded from the port, it said.

Puerto Rico Cruise Ship Fire A woman is transported on a gurney after she was rescued from the cruise ship Caribbean Fantasy. Source: AP/Press Association Images

“At this stage the priority is attending to the people,” Crespo said, adding that there were only preliminary reports about their medical condition.

There is probably dehydration and nervous shock, but we can confirm that nearly 500 people are all on the way to port.

Crespo, who also heads Puerto Rico’s disaster management agency, said the fire has been contained in the engine room but was not yet out.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Puerto Rico Cruise Ship Fire Smokes spills from ship. Source: Carlos Giusti

The Panamanian-flagged vessel was two nautical miles north of San Juan when the fire was reported to the Coast Guard, at about 7:42 am (11.42 GMT).

It was carrying 512 people, including crew, the Coast Guard said.

Nestor Cidras, the ferry line’s vice president for sales and marketing, said the Caribbean Fantasy had left Santo Domingo Tuesday night and was supposed to have arrived in San Juan at 8:00 am (12.00 GMT).

© – AFP 2016

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