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Tuesday, August 31, 1999 Published at 04:44 GMT 05:44 UK


Cargo ship fire put out

One million tonnes of water were used to extinguish the fire

A fire on a cargo ship which collided with a cruise liner in the English Channel has been put out after six days.

The Ever Decent caught fire after the crash on Tuesday with the Norwegian Dream liner, which was carrying 2,400 people. More than 20 were slightly hurt.

The BBC's Bob Sinkinson: The ship will head for Zeebrugge on Tuesday morning
The 52,000-tonne Ever Decent had stayed at sea while salvage teams fought the fires in two of its bays.

Paint and tyres inside the containers fed the flames. Four tugs and two salvage vessels pumped more than 1m tonnes of water over the ship in an effort to control the blaze.

[ image: It had been feared that the ship's cargo could cause pollution]
It had been feared that the ship's cargo could cause pollution
A technical inspection has taken place to ensure the ship is safe - the Ever Decent was holed below the waterline in the collision.

She will now be moved to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, her original destination, for repairs.

Most of her cargo, which included two containers carrying cyanide, is intact.

John Garner of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency: It's difficult fighting fires at sea
"We are very pleased at the way that the incident has been brought to a close," said John Garner, Head of Operations at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

"This particular incident always had the potential to turn into a major pollution incident with dire consequences for the UK coastline. It is very pleasing to report that no pollution whatsoever took place."

[ image: The Norwegian Dream will be out of action until October]
The Norwegian Dream will be out of action until October
The 46,000-tonne Norwegian Dream managed to limp back to Dover with a huge gash in her bow and is now heading for repairs at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The owners have confirmed she will be out of action until October.

Repairs will involve rebuilding 300 tonnes of steel on her bow. Three September cruises have been cancelled and the ship will not return to service until 11 October when she sets off from Rome on a 12-day Black Sea and Greek Islands cruise.

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