Emergency teams raced to contain a three-kilometre oil spill after five people were rushed to the hospital when a huge car ferry ploughed through a port wall on the holiday island of Gran Canaria in Spain.
Local authorities said the beaches near the airport on the island’s east coast would be closed as a precaution after 60,000 litres of fuel spilled into the sea following the collision.
The incident, involved a car ferry called the Volcan de Tamasite which regularly covers the two-and-a-half-long route between the two islands, happened yesterday.
The ferry lost power as it was leaving port and crew attempts to stop the collision by getting the engines restarted and throwing down anchors failed.
Dramatic footage shows the vessel smashing through the concrete barrier as terrified passengers anxiously row with staff on board.
Smashed into harbour wall:
It was adrift and at the mercy of the sea before it hit the concrete wall at the entrance to Luz Port in the Gran Canaria capital Las Palmas.
The ship, which was heading towards the neighbouring island of Tenerife with 140 passengers, 30 crew members and dozens of vehicles on board – had suffered engine failure.
Oil slick reported:
Teams are attempting to tackle the oil slick caused by the ferry crashing into underwater fuel pipes, the regional government said in a statement.
Of those taken to hospital one man who suffered a broken collarbone after falling to the ground during the collision and another five received medical attention at the scene.
Some of those affected included a pregnant woman and suffered panic attacks.
The damaged port wall came down on two vehicles belonging to oil firm Onyx which were refuelling a nearby ship, causing an oil spill which led to an environmental emergency being declared.
Up to 200,000 litres of fuel was initially feared to have spilled, although port authority sources said they believed the situation could be brought under control without major environmental consequences because of sea currents.
Coastguards’ vessels were sent to inspect the scene late last night.
A police investigation was underway last night in conjunction with a separate investigation by the ferry’s owner Naviera Armas.
Footage taken from inside the damaged vessel after the collision – and posted on social media – showed furious passengers arguing with the crew who were trying to calm them down.
The passengers began to leave the ship around 10pm and many were put up in hotels overnight.
Passenger Gabriel Velazquez said afterwards: “People were very nervous when they felt a loud bang and then things got out of hand because no-one really knew what was happening.”
Another added: “There were people on the floor. One of the women working in the cafe ended up trapped when something fell on her and had to be helped out.”
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Source: The Sun