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Sunday, 16 July, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Spanish ferry collision kills six
Damaged ferry
The victims were all North Africans heading for Tangiers
Two ferries have collided near the port of Algeciras in southern Spain, killing six people and injuring 18.

The collision occurred on Sunday when one ferry heading towards the port rammed into another - the Ciudad de Ceuta - which was carrying 290 people to Tangiers in Morocco.

All those who died were on board the Ciudad de Ceuta, which suffered the brunt of the impact and was left with a gaping hole in its bow. Its passenger lounge was hit full on by the other ferry - the Ciudad de Tanger.


The crash happened in thick fog about 10km (six miles) from Algeciras, at about 0630 local time (0430 GMT).

The dead included a baby and two children aged five and six.

The Ciudad de Ceuta was not in danger of sinking, according to Salvador Melero, civil protection director for Cadiz Province.

The two ferries, both registered in Spain, were owned by the Spanish firm Transmediterranea.

Quick evacuation

Frightened passengers, who were in the lounge below decks at the time, were quickly evacuated by Spanish rescue teams who rushed to the scene.

Injured woman on stretcher
The victims included women and children

Mr Melero told the Associated Press news agency that both ferries returned to port for an investigation to be conducted.

Officials say poor visibility could have been a factor in the accident.

Popular port

Around two million North African immigrants work in Europe, and every summer hundreds of thousands of them converge on Algeciras to head home for their holidays.

Algeciras is a popular port to travel from because administrative formalities are done on board, easing traffic congestion.

July is a peak month for the holidaymakers, with about 50 ships leaving Algeciras daily for North Africa, port officials said.

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See also:

27 Sep 99 | Africa
Morocco: The great return
09 Feb 00 | Europe
Immigrants demand protection
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