Emergency Evacuation: New ferry at risk of sinking in Gulf of Trieste

   June 13, 2024 ,   Accidents

All available resources, including the Italian Coast Guard, multiple police units, and the fire brigade, were mobilized at midday on Wednesday, June 12th, after a newbuild ferry declared an emergency, reporting an immediate risk of sinking in the eastern portion of the Gulf of Trieste.

Aboard the Italy-flagged ferry Audace (MMSI 247427800) were 76 passengers, 5 children, and 4 crew members.

The agencies coordinated to evacuate all passengers into liferafts and transferred them to shore via patrol boats. Authorities reported no serious injuries, stating that "no one even ended up in the water." The cause of the incident remains undetermined, although there is speculation that a wave swamped the 22.5-meter (74-foot) passenger ferry, which was operating along its route between Trieste and Grado. The journey typically takes about one and a half hours and is part of the public transit system.

The vessel was ~4 mi (~7 km) from shore when its Captain reported water ingress and danger of foundering. Photographs depict the ship steeply tilted towards the bow.

The 2023-built vessel started operations in 2023, replacing an older vessel (Adriatica). The new ferry has a capacity of 200 passengers, divided between the covered cabin and open deck, and can accommodate up to 30 bicycles. Media reports noted that ambulances and medical teams were on standby, and 6 individuals were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Despite its precarious position, the ferry remained afloat. Teams were working with a tug to bring the vessel to port.