A ferry travelling across the Adriatic from the Italian port of Ancona to Croatia's second city of Split broke down in Croatian waters on Thursday morning, leaving 215 passengers and 92 crew members stranded some 10 miles south of the Dalmatian island of Kornat.
The ferry, named Aurelia and operated by the 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 engine reportedly stopped working at about 5 am, stranding the ship at open sea.
By afternoon, a tugboat sent from the port city of Zadar arrived on the scene, the shipping company’s spokesman Igor Kapetanovic confirmed to N1, adding that Aurelia would be tugged to Split.
A passenger contacted by N1 television at around 5 pm said that the operation might take about 10 hours, meaning Aurelia should arrive to its destination in the early morning hours on Friday. Local media reported that all passengers are fine and accounted for.
Port Authority chief at the coastal town of Sibenik, Robert Baljkas, told N1 that there were no reported injuries or calls to assist in potential evacuation.
“This is an unfortunate situation, but all the passengers are fine, and there is no danger of the ship running aground or anything like that,” Baljkas said.
The reason as to why Aurelia’s two engines have failed are unknown, Kapetanovic said, and the incident be investigated after the ship is brought to port.
At the time of the engines’ failure, there were reportedly strong southerly winds in the area, which prevented tugboats from reaching Aurelia earlier.
(Correction: Original version of this article quoted initial figures released by the local media which said the ferry was carrying 250 passengers; later on Thursday, Croatia’s national search and rescue centre confirmed that the actual number was 215.)