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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 May 2006, 19:46 GMT 20:46 UK
Ferry cleared to begin crossings
MV Fortuny
MV Fortuny can carry 1,000 passengers and 300 vehicles
A Spanish car ferry that was due to sail from Portsmouth to Bilbao but was impounded by UK authorities over safety fears has been cleared to sail.

The MV Fortuny was about to leave Portsmouth on the new route when the Martime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) halted her departure last week.

The vessel, which can carry 1,000 people, was returned to Spain empty where she has since passed new tests.

She returns to Portsmouth on Thursday to begin three crossings a week.

Lost services

Fortuny, built in 2001 and managed and owned by Acciona Trasmediterranea (AT Ferries), was impounded just hours after arriving in Portsmouth.

The MCA's concerns were over the onboard firefighting equipment and staff training.

European law states that before a ferry can enter service from a port for the first time it must be inspected by its host state, the MCA said.

The new service has been hailed by port managers, after the recent loss of P&O services to France.

Ferry impounded over safety fears
18 May 06 |  Hampshire

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