Eleven men were rescued from a burning tramp freighter 20 kilometres south of Vestmannaeyjar. The fire has been put out but the ship is drifting.
The ship, Fernanda, was on route to Hafnarfjörður harbour when a fire broke out in its engine room around noon on Wednesday.
The fire quickly spun out of control and the crew asked for assistance from Iceland, RÚV reports.
Two Coast Guard helicopters flew to the scene and by then the entire bridge of the tramp freighter was in flames. The crew members found shelter on the ship’s deck while they awaited rescue.
In addition, a pilot boat and a rescue boat from Vestmannaeyjar reached the burning ship after one and a half hour sail.
The crew, eleven Baltics and Russians, were hoisted up to one of the helicopters and taken to Reykjavík, where the helicopter landed just after 16:00, and attended to by volunteers from the Red Cross. The men were unharmed but shaken and smutty.
ICE-SAR rescue ship Þór arrived at the scene to try to put out the fire. Weather condition was bad at the scene and more than 1.500 tons of sea water were spurted on the burning ship before the fire finally went out around 3:00 on Thursday morning.
Fernanda is now badly damaged and drifting south of Vestmannaeyjar.
See the Coast Guard’s photos from the scene on RÚV’s website here and here.
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