Firefighters rushed to Marr Harbour (Gozo Island, Malta) on Monday morning (August 23) after smoke was seen rising from a Gozo Fast Ferry ship soon after leaving port at ~07:45 am.
A police spokesperson has confirmed the accident and said that passengers had been evacuated from the ferry. Nobody had been injured.
Gozo Fast Ferry said in a statement that the accident was not a fire, but rather a technical fault that caused the fire suppression system to activate. The white smoke that was seen was "part of the activation of the fire suppression system onboard and no fire was detected."
The company said the ferry's Captain had "followed all protocol procedures and initiated a precautionary evacuation of all passengers to ensure their safety." It also thanked all passengers onboard for keeping calm and apologized for the inconvenience.
The ship, named "Your Faith", is expected to be back in service in the coming days.
The ferry company said in a statement that a minor fire had broken out on one of its ships shortly after leaving Gozo at 07: 45 am.
"All passengers on board were disembarked safely and all safety procedures were followed.
"No one was injured in this incident and fire suppression systems were immediately engaged by the crew."
A spokesperson added that an internal investigation was underway to determine the cause of the fire.
The spokesperson also apologized for the inconvenience caused to the travellers.
The fast ferry service between Gozo Island and Valletta Malta started in June 2021, with both companies (Gozo Fast Ferry and Virtu Ferries) offering 45-min crossings.
Gozo Fast Ferry operates two 39-m long high-speed catamaran ferries (2018-built, designed by Incat Crowther) with max passenger capacity 300. However, currently, the company is operating at 50% due to COVID safety protocols.