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British Ferry Limps Into Norway Port

May 18, 2002

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OSLO, Norway (AP) _ A disabled ferry with almost 900 people aboard limped into a Norwegian port Saturday after its crew extinguished engine-room fires that had caused it to lose power and drift off the Scottish coast.

The Princess of Scandinavia docked at 4:30 p.m. at Kristiansand, 155 miles southwest of the capital Oslo.

No serious injuries to passengers or crew were reported, said Morten Fure, a spokesman for ferry operator DFDS, adding that psychological counseling would be provided.

The ferry, which left Newcastle on Friday, had been scheduled to sail on to Goteborg, Sweden, but will remain in Norway for repairs and an investigation. Travel arrangements were being made for passengers who wanted to reach Goteborg.

As a blaze was reported in the engine room, rescue helicopters, planes and ships from Scotland and Norway sped toward the ship late Friday, preparing to evacuate the passengers and crew.

At one point, passengers assembled on the decks for a possible evacuation to nearby oil platforms.

However, the crew put out fires in the engine room and smokestack, and the ferry resumed its journey early Saturday under its own power. Leif Christian Mikkelsen, a DFDS spokesman, said crew members had managed to restart three of the vessel’s four smoke-damaged engines.

``Spirits are high on board. We managed to get electricity back in the galley this morning so we could serve fresh rolls ... to the passengers,″ Mikkelsen said by telephone from Copenhagen earlier Saturday.

The ferry was carrying 758 passengers, including 246 people from Britain, 428 Swedes, 71 Norwegians and 13 Danes. The mostly Scandinavian 126-member crew was led by Captain Jens Knudsen, a Dane.

The 600-foot, 22,528-ton Princess of Scandinavia can carry as many as 1,500 passengers. It was built in 1976 and refurbished in 1991, according to the company’s Web site.

In 1989, a fire broke out on the same ship _ then called Tor Scandinavia _ during a North Sea crossing, killing two people and injuring several others.

DFDS operates overnight city-to-city cruises through much of northern Europe.

Some European Union officials have complained that regulations passed after European ferry disasters killed hundreds of people in the 1980s and 1990s have not been adequately enforced.

In Greece, 80 people died in September 2000 when the Express Samina ferry struck rocks and sank in the Aegean Sea.


On the Net: http://www.dfdsseaways.com

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