Ferryboat drifts for hours with 389 passengers onboard due to engine failure

   June 4, 2023 ,   Accidents

On Saturday (June 3rd), the Taima Star (2015-built Ro-Pax ferry, IMO 9684938) experienced engine trouble near Matsu Islands (Taiwan's Lienchiang County, East China Sea), causing it to drift for several hours with 389 passengers on board.

The vessel departed from Keelung at 10 pm on Friday (June 2nd), but at ~4 am on Saturday, its engines failed, leaving it unable to complete the crossing to Nangan Island. The incident occurred ~30 NM (56 km) away from Nangan.

Out of the 389 passengers, 209 were traveling to Nangan Township, while 180 were headed to Dongyin Island. In response, a local government emergency meeting was convened to arrange for ships to tow the stranded ferry to a harbor, with three vessels from the Coast Guard Administration accompanying them.

The rescue team reached Taima Star at ~10 am, but the process of towing the ship to safety would take at least another 4 hours. According to reports, the passengers grew hungry and became upset with the crew for attempting to sell them canned food.

Upon arrival at Nangan's Fuao Harbor, each passenger received water, food, and NT$600 (US$20) as compensation. Additional ships were dispatched to transport passengers who wished to continue their journey to Dongyin and Juguang, as directed by the authorities.

Taima Star eventually reached Matsu safely at ~3 pm, while a repair team was flown in from Taiwan's main island. Officials stated that the ferry would not be allowed to resume sailing until a thorough inspection had been carried out.