Lithuania-bound Ferry Stranded in the Baltic Sea After Supposed Engine Fire
A Lithuania-bound ferry was left stranded for hours in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, October 2, after reports suggest that an engine malfunction rendered the vessel immobile. The boat was en route to Klaipeda, a Lithuanian port, and found itself stuck in international waters at a juncture between Poland and Lithuania, off the coast of Russian Kaliningrad. A distress call from the ferry initiated a nearby international rescue response.
The Danish originating ferry, the DFDS operated Regina Seaways, departed from Kiel Germany with 335 passengers onboard. At roughly 1:00 p.m. in the local time when the ferry was approximately 50 miles from its destination, engines shutdown amidst complications, that have now been deemed technical malfunctions by official DFDS sources. According to Gert Jakobsen, a DFDS spokesperson, “a malfunction in the engine room [caused] a lot of smoke.” This was later corroborated by another representative, Vaidas Klumbys, who noted that the company, “received the information from the ship that it was undergoing vibrations and smoke rising from the engines,” at the time of the incident.
Official DFDS reports conflict with notices given by the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, in which a fire was said to have been extinguished. The ferry operator themself also purportedly addressed that smoke emanating from the engine room apparently set off the room’s fire extinguisher, alerting the vessel’s personnel initially to the danger. DFDS has denied any reports of an explosion or blast erupting from the engine’s machinery.
On the outset of the incident, the ferry was left powerless for multiple hours as an international rescue convey was dispatched from the various surrounding nations. Rescue coordinators from Kaliningrad sent envoys from Poland, Russia, and Lithuania to assess the situation. Following the multinational response, the vessel was able to re-establish power and continue on with its charted journey.
In order to ensure safety as a precaution, a Lithuanian Defense Ministry escort comprised of four naval vessels and a helicopter transport were sent alongside the ferry for the remainder of its trip. Despite dismal weather forecasts in the region of strong gale and gust winds amidst storms, the ferry was able to successfully fulfill its course on the start-up power of its own engines. Of the various passengers and crew members on board originating from across countries in the Baltic, Germany, and Russia, thankfully no injuries or fatalities were reported. The ferry reached its destination of Klaipeda, Lithuania at around 9:30 p.m. local time.