Fire doused on German ship; passengers, crew safe

Oslo, May 29 (DPA) A fire that forced the evacuation of the passengers and crew from the German cruise ship Deutschland in western Norweigian waters was extinguished late Friday, hours after the blaze broke out in an engine room, Norwegian officials said.

The Norwegian news agency NTB said that 607 people – all passengers and most of the crew – were evacuated in the harbour of Eidfjord, some 200 km north-west of Oslo.

Those evacuated included 364 passengers, who were mostly German, 241 crew members and two Norwegian pilots who were on board when the fire started.

‘So far there are no reports of injuries,’ Per Fjeld, spokesman for the rescue headquarters, told the German Press Agency dpa.

The evacuation of the passengers and crew from the ship to land had been carried out in orderly fashion, he said.

The passengers are to be flown home Monday.

The fire broke out 12.30 p.m. (1030 GMT), with the cause not yet determined. Officials said that the vessel’s fire-proof doors had all held, preventing the blaze from spreading throughout the vessel.

Specialised marine firefighters were called in from Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, helping to bring the blaze under control.

The 175-metre-long Deutschland – dubbed a ‘floating 5-star hotel’ – is the flagship of the northern German shipping firm Deilmann. It was being towed overnight Sunday to Bergan for further inspection of the damage.

The Deutschland had been due to depart Eidfjord on Sunday evening for Hamburg. It was scheduled to leave Tuesday from Hamburg on a cruise to London and Scotland.