German cruise ship fire in Norway forces evacuation of 607 people

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cruise fire in Norway forces evacuation of 607

OSLO, Norway — A machine room fire on a German cruise ship at a port in western Norway forced the evacuation of 607 people Sunday, rescue officials said.

All 364 passengers onboard the ship MS Deutschland were evacuated safely, rescue services spokesman Per Fjeld said.

There were also 241 crew members and two Norwegian ship pilots at the ship, which is well-known in Germany for featuring in the prominent German TV-show “Das Traumschiff.”

Fjeld said some crew members have not been evacuated yet, but said there were no reports of any injuries.

Eye witness Borghild Vik, who works at a hotel in Eidfjord, told The Associated Press she saw large clouds of smoke rising up from the ship that later subsided.

Vik said the evacuated passengers have been taken to a hotel and other ships and buses are on standby to transport them elsewhere if needed.

The fire started in the machine room and firefighters contained it to that area, Fjeld said. But he said the fire was still burning inside the machine room, causing heat to spread through the ship, and specialist firefighters were called in to try to stop it.

MS Deutschland is operated by the German company Peter Deilmann Cruises on its Norwegian Fjord route, which starts from Hamburg.

The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

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