Passenger ship Voyager radios SOS in the Mediterranean

Monday, February 14, 2005

A passenger ship, the Voyager enroute between Spain's Balearic Islands to the Italian island of Sardinia, radioed a distress call earlier today after getting into difficulties in heavy seas. A huge wave shattered a bridge window, damaging control systems inside.

The Bahamian-registered ship is carrying 776 passengers and crew, 480 of them Spanish. Some sustained minor injuries when the ship sailed into the storm at 8am UTC today.

French and Spanish tugs have been dispatched to assist the vessel, and the British gas tanker Gimi has diverted to offer help and is relaying radio signals from the stricken ship. Voyager "is in a difficult situation but is not drifting", according to the French coastguard, with only a single propeller still providing force.

The ship was sailing from Tunis to Barcelona when she encountered the storm. The crew have restored power to two of her four engines and she is now diverting to Tunis, and is expected to reach port on Tuesday.