PEI Ferry Evacuated After Fire in Engine Room, Operator Says No Injuries Reported

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A fire that broke out on a ferry as it neared Prince Edward Island Friday morning forced an emergency evacuation of 182 passengers.

Northumberland Ferries Ltd., the company that operates the MV Holiday Island, said the vessel was approaching the terminal in Wood Islands, P.E.I., when there was a fire in its engine room. Photos posted on social media showed smoke billowing from the ferry just off the shore.

“(The) ship’s crew and safety systems contained the fire,” Dan Cormier, Northumberland’s vice-president, said in a news release. “There are no reported injuries to customers or crew.”

The Holiday Island crosses the Northumberland Strait between Caribou, N.S., and Wood Islands. The vessel is nearly 98 metres long, according to marine traffic websites, and it carries vehicles as well as passengers.

Cormier said the ship was on a scheduled run that departed Nova Scotia at 10 a.m. When the fire broke out near the Prince Edward Island terminal, the captain dropped both anchors and steered the vessel onto a soft shoal, Cormier said.

All passengers had been taken ashore as of 1:15 p.m. local time, according to a tweet from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax. The centre received a distress call at 11:17 a.m. saying a fire had broken out in the ferry’s engine room and it had subsequently run aground.

The rescue co-ordination centre said search and rescue aircraft from 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia and Canadian Coast Guard vessels responded “and safely disembarked 182 passengers.” Eighteen crew members and seven local firefighters stayed behind to fight the fire, the centre said in a tweet.

The Prince Edward Island RCMP tweeted earlier that they were assisting with an “incident offshore” near the ferry terminal and asked the public to avoid the area to allow first responders to act.

The company said it was cancelling all remaining crossings along the route for the rest of the day “out of an abundance of caution.”

The Canadian Press

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