Oslow, Norway: Blast & Intense Fire On Cruise Ship Kills Two: UPDATED

16 Sep

Norwegian cruise ship, MS Nordlys, one of the Hurtigruten ships billows smoke as it approaches Alesund in western Norway, Thursday Sept. 15, 2011. Passengers were forced to evacuate a popular cruise off Norway's craggy western coast on Thursday when a fire in the engine room killed two crew members and sent heavy smoke billowing through the ship. Operator Hurtigruten ASA said nine other crew were taken to hospital, two with serious burns and smoke injuries. All 207 passengers _ and most of the crew of 55 _ on board the MS Nordlys were taken to safety. Danielle Passebois-Paya, a French tourist, told Norwegian daily Aftenposten that the evacuation went smoothly. (AP Photo/Scanpix, Svein Ove Ekornesvag) NORWAY OUT

Norwegian cruise ship, MS Nordlys, one of the Hurtigruten ships billows smoke as …

NEWS UPDATE:

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Rescue teams pumped water from the hull of a Norwegian cruise ship that listed dangerously Friday, a day after a fire on board killed two crew and forced the evacuation of 260 other people, officials said.

Norway: Cruise ship in danger of tilting over 22 photos

Police Chief Jon Steven Hasseldal said the ship had been tilting at an angle of 21.7 degrees, which is over what is considered a critical line of 20 degrees.

Despite the list, a Dutch salvage team managed to place three pumps inside the vessel on Friday morning.

“At the moment it looks promising,” Hasseldal told reports at the dockside. “It’s still a serious situation … but now there is a bit more stability in the ship.”

A fire in the engine room of the MS Nordlys on Thursday morning caused the evacuation of the ship before it was due to arrive at Aalesund, 230 miles (375 kilometers) northwest of the capital of Oslo. All 207 passengers were evacuated safely into lifeboats or after it docked.

Two crew were found dead in the engine room while nine others were admitted to hospital, two of whom had serious injuries, including burns and smoke inhalation. Three rescue workers were treated for mild injuries from inhaling smoke.

Police said they suspected an explosion in the engine room but did not know what caused it.

“Nothing indicates sabotage or points to terror,” said Trygve Oedegaard, head of operations at the Aalesund police.

Thick black smoke billowed from the stern of the ship, operated by the Hurtigruten line, when it sailed into Aalesund. Police sealed off parts of the town as smoke engulfed nearby buildings.

Passengers said the evacuation was orderly and calm.

“It was a well-organized evacuation,” Danielle Passebois-Paya, a French tourist, said. “The crew did a really good job. Everything was calm and went smoothly. There was no panic.”

Hurtigruten said it was organizing emergency passports and providing money for the passengers who had to leave their belongings on board during the evacuation.

The shipping line’s CEO Olav Fjell said that finding alternative transport for those who wanted to continue their journey would be difficult.

“Our other ships are fully booked so it has been difficult for us to find alternatives for those who would like to continue their journey,” Fjell said.

Salvage teams worked through the night but were forced to leave the ship as it continued to tilt. They resumed pumping operations from outside after holes were drilled into the hull to enable insertion of hoses.

Hasseldal said that a floating crane was also being used to stabilize the tilting vessel.

The MS Nordlys is one of 12 Hurtigruten vessels that ply Norway’s craggy coast on the popular 1,500-mile (2,500-kilometer) route to the northern town of Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle and near the Russian border.

Play Video

Video: Raw Video: Cruise ship blast kills 2

OSLO, Norway (AP) — An intense fire in a cruise ship’s engine room killed two crewmen Thursday, injured nine others and forced more than 200 passengers to evacuate a popular cruise off Norway’s craggy western coast. Three rescue workers were hospitalized with minor injuries.

Police said they suspected an explosion in the engine room.

“Nothing indicates sabotage or points to terror,” said Trygve Oedegaard, head of operations at the Aalesund police. “But, of course, we have to investigate all options.”

Thick black smoke billowed from the stern of the boat, the MS Nordlys, of Norway’s Hurtigruten line even before it pulled into the dock at Aalesund, 230 miles (375 kilometers) northwest of the capital of Oslo. Police sealed off parts of the town as the smoke engulfed nearby buildings.

The ship’s emergency evacuation began after the fire started at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT), with more than 100 passengers piling into lifeboats in the frigid waters. The rest of the ship’s 207 passengers and 55 crew were evacuated at the dock at Aalesund.

Hurtigruten said all the passengers were unharmed but that nine crew members were admitted to Aalesund hospital, two with serious burns and smoke inhalation.

The chief of Aalesund’s fire department, Geir Thorsen, described the blaze as “big and intense.”

More than 12 hours after the fire began, Thorsen said they were in control of it, but the ship was taking in water and listing. Pumping operations were halted as the ship continued to tilt.

“Our main challenge now is the stability of the ship,” Thorsen said. Two units of firefighters specializing in offshore fires were involved in the operation.

Oedegaard said that three rescue workers who pumped water from the ship were lightly injured and treated for inhaling smoke fumes.

Passengers said the cruise ship, which was traveling north from the city of Bergen, had organized an orderly evacuation.

  “We were sent up on deck and given our lifevests,” Danielle Passebois-Paya, a French tourist, told Norwegian daily Aftenposten. “It took only a few minutes after the alarm and we were in the lifeboats.”

 “It was a well-organized evacuation,” she added. “The crew did a really good job. Everything was calm and went smoothly. There was no panic.”

Thorsen could not confirm reports that the ship’s fire-extinguishing system did not work, but said its electricity system was knocked out.

“There are no indications that the fire had spread to other rooms in the ship,” he said.

The MS Nordlys plies Norway’s western coast on the popular 1,500-mile (2,500-kilometer) cruise between the southwestern city of Bergen and the northern town of Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle near the Russian border. The route features spectacular fjords, mountains, islands and Arctic wildlife, and carries both tourists eager to see the scenery and locals and cargo from coastal cities and hamlets.

Aalesund, with a population of 42,000, is an Art Nouveau town once voted the prettiest in Norway.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: