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Six Killed in Spain Ferry Crash

July 16, 2000

ALGECIRAS, Spain (AP) _ Two ferries sailing in early morning fog collided Sunday, killing six North Africans heading home for summer vacation and injuring 18, Spanish authorities said.

A ship bringing trucks to the port of Algeciras rammed the starboard side of a ferry that had left Algeciras for Tangiers, Morocco, gouging a hole in the hull next to passenger lounge below deck.

All of the deaths, including three children, were on the ship leaving Algeciras. That ferry was carrying 290 passengers.

Initially the death toll was given as five but authorities later found a woman’s body floating near the collision site two miles off the Tarifa area of Spain’s southern coast. Tarifa is 10 miles southwest of the port of Algeciras.

At no point was either ship in danger of sinking, said Salvador Melero, civil protection director for southern Cadiz province.

Both ships went to Algeciras as authorities investigated the accident. Melero said fog appeared to have played a role.

Hundreds of thousands of North Africans living in Europe converge on Algeciras every summer to take ferries home for vacation.

July is one of the busiest months for ship traffic, with about 50 vessels leaving Algeciras every day for Tangiers and other points in North Africa, port officials say.

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