Emergency services evacuated 60 people from a ferry on Tuesday after heavy smoke began pouring from its engine, leaving it drifting in Hong Kong waters.
The incident happened at about 11.40am, half an hour after the double-decker catamaran, operated by New World First Ferry, left Central for Mui Wo, Lantau Island. The vessel – First Ferry X, carrying 55 passengers and five crew members – was scheduled to arrive at its destination at 11.50am.
As it arrived just off Man Kok Tsui, the ferry company said, a crew member noticed an engine was emitting smoke in the boat’s machinery room. He immediately alerted the captain.
“No flames were seen by crew members. They used carbon dioxide fire extinguishers until the engine stopped billowing smoke,” a spokeswoman said. “No casualties were reported in the incident.”
As of 1.45pm, she said, the company was inspecting the damage, but it did not pose any risk to the safety of the vessel.
All passengers were evacuated from the ferry as a precaution, and two fire boats and a police launch were deployed to take them to Mui Wo, where they landed safely at 1.10pm, according to the company. Refunds were offered to all passengers.
Insisting there was never any risk of the ferry sinking or spilling oil, the spokeswoman said the company was still investigating what caused the incident.
She said the ferry had passed its annual inspection in March, and the company told the Marine Department about the incident.
In 2010, the same ferry, carrying 44 passengers and crew from Central to Mui Wo, ran aground at Ngan Chau near Peng Chau. The bow of the vessel was broken, with two holes taking in water, which a gate stopped from spilling into the cabin.
No one was hurt in that incident, which happened in foggy conditions which reduced visibility across the city.
This article Emergency services evacuate ferry after engine fire leaves it drifting in Hong Kong waters first appeared on South China Morning Post