Passengers and crew rescued after ferry crashes

The 61 passengers and nine crew of passenger ferry Mestre Simao were evacuated from the ship using a raft that was towed to shore by a semi- inflatable dinghy after she ran aground at entrance to Madalena port on popular holiday island of Pico

An alarm was sounded around 09:30 local time when passenger ferry Mestre Simao (IMO 9690482)  was pushed towards rocks at the entrance to the port of Madalena on the popular holiday island of Pico. Coastguards and marine police were immediately mobilized and managed to get the passengers off in 30 minutes The ship, operated by Atlantico Line, was covering the route between Horta on the island of Faial, one of the nine islands that comprise the Azores archipelago, and Madalena.

The incident happened during a yellow weather warning for the area and is thought to have occurred after the vessel was pushed onto rocks by strong waves, although a prior technical fault was also a possibility. Local reports said water had started seeping inside the vessel when rescue teams reached it to take passengers off the ship, and that the hull was badly damaged.

2013-built, Portugal-flagged, 748 gt Mestre Simao is owned and managed by Atlanticonline SA of Ponta Delgada, Azores. It is entered with Shipowners’ P&I Club on behalf of Seguradoras Unidas Açoreana.