Baltic Sea ferry not at risk of sinking

AP News
Posted: Oct 10, 2010 11:51 AM
Baltic Sea ferry not at risk of sinking

A 650-foot ferry that was set ablaze by an explosion is no longer at immediate risk of sinking in the Baltic Sea, Danish and German officials said Sunday.

Ulrike Windhoevel, spokeswoman for Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, told The Associated Press the fire was under control and there was no imminent danger of the ship breaking up.

The ship Lisco Gloria was set ablaze in the Baltic Sea on Saturday after an accidental explosion on the upper deck, forcing the evacuation of the 236 people aboard.

The Admiral Danish Fleet said there was no longer any visible fire on the ship Sunday and only small traces of smoke. Firefighters will continue spraying the heavily damaged vessel with water throughout the night to cool it down, it said.

Authorities hope to be able to board the ship Monday to make a thorough inspection.

Windhoevel cautioned that the situation could deteriorate if the ferry is not pulled into a safe harbor.

Firefighting ships started spraying the vessel with water Saturday while the blaze was still raging aboard the ship to keep it from breaking apart and spilling around 170 tons of fuel off Denmark's coast.

All 236 people aboard were rescued by other ships, although 28 suffered injuries. Authorities initially said 249 people were aboard the ferry, but Schleswig-Holstein state police spokeswoman Jessica Wessel said Sunday that some people must have been counted twice during the rescue effort.