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Ferry Pella on fire, Middle East big ferries are anything but safe

Ferry Pella caught fire shortly after leaving Jordanian port of Aqaba on it’s way to Nuweiba, Egypt, Gulf of Eilat, with some 1230 passengers on board, in the morning Nov 3. Fire started in car deck and engulfed the vessel in a very short time, some passengers had to jump overboard, though most part, judging from news reports, made it to lifeboats. Details of a rescue operation are unclear as media mainly mention military, but more probably, people were rescued by local boats, trading and fishing vessels. One passenger confirmed to be dead, 12 hospitalized with smoke inhalation. There were only master and three other crew on board of the vessel after midday, later they were evacuated too. Ferry seem to be still afloat, partly submerged and severely damaged by fire. Passengers were mostly expat Egyptians returning home for a Muslim holiday.
Passenger/ro-ro ferry Pella IMO 8319081, GRT 10675, built 1983, flag Jordan, owner Arab Bridge Maritime Company (AB Maritime), a joint venture between the governments of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.
The accident circumstances, especially the speed with which fire engulfed the vessel, illustrates the overall situation with safety on board of Middle East big ferries, it’s not the first major accident with them, and definitely not the last.
Voytenko Mikhail

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