The replacement ferry in Alcudia yesterday.

The rough seas yesterday caused a delay to the arrival in Alcudia of an Algerie Ferries ship that had been sent to replace the Tariq Ibn Ziyad ferry, which suffered a fire in the cargo hold and had to make an emergency stop in Alcudia.

The fire broke out soon after midnight on Sunday morning. The ferry's captain was advised to head for Alcudia, the nearest port. The 470 passengers and over 130 crew were taken off the ship and were assisted by Red Cross and Civil Protection volunteers. Twenty-six people needed to be treated for smoke inhalation by 061 emergency medics. Three were taken to hospital in Inca or Manacor and were later able to leave.

The passengers and crew spent most of Sunday at the port terminal building and were given food, drink and blankets as well as any medical treatment. A small relief ferry was able to take some of the passengers, but 300 were put up in hotels in Puerto Alcudia and waited for the larger replacement ship.

The ferry had been en route from Marseille to Algiers. The fire, the cause of which is not yet known, caused some damage to electricity supplies and hydraulics, and 38 cars were totally wrecked. There were 340 vehicles in all on the ferry.