A ferry which broke down in Croatian waters on Thursday morning while travelling from the Italian port of Ancona to Croatia's second city of Split arrived safely to the Split port at about 1 pm on Friday, after being towed for some 17 hours by the tugboat sent from the Croatian port city of Zadar.
The ferry, named Aurelia, owned by the Naples-based Italian shipping company SNAV, had set off from Ancona at 8:30 pm on Wednesday, and was scheduled to arrive in Split on Thursday at 7 am. However, the ship’s engines had reportedly stopped working at about 5 am, making the ship free float in the open sea, some 32 miles west of Split.
Even though initial figures released by the local media said the ferry was carrying 250 passengers, later on Thursday Croatia’s national search and rescue command centre revised the figure and put it at 215. The ship also had 92 crew on board.
There were no reported injuries or incidents on the ship during what turned out to be a 40-hour ordeal.
“I was not afraid at all… when the tugboat arrived, everything was okay,” Boris Antoni, one of the passengers on the Aurelia, told N1 after disembarking in Split. “I don’t plan on claiming any damages because we were treated well.”
Another passenger, Maglica Plejic, said she expected the ship to arrive to Split sooner than it did.
“All is well that ends well, we held up fine. There were doctors on board, we had food, we could sleep, we could dance. We talked in the ship’s salon as we waited for news… nothing bad happened, and that’s the most important thing,” she said.
At the time of the engines’ failure, there were reportedly strong southerly winds in the area, which prevented tugboats from reaching Aurelia earlier. It took some 12 hours for the tugboat Pollux to reach the stranded ship.
The cause of Aurelia’s engine failure is still unknown, the shipping company’s spokesman Igor Kapetanovic said on Thursday, adding that the incident would be investigated in more detail after the ship is brought to port.
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