Faroe Islands trawler blazes out of control in town

The Faroese factory trawler, Athena yesterday fell victim to yet another serious fire at the Faroe Islands port of Runavik. High flames and multiple explosions stopped fire crews from getting close enough to begin work. Local residents were evacuated.

Athena is an 8,000 tonne trawler — and an unlucky one at that. This is the third time that a serious fire has broken out on board.

There are roughly 4,000 residents of Runavik and 1,500 of those nearest the harbour were evacuated by police because of the explosions and poisonous smoke. It was even feared the whole ship would blow up.

Athena was in Runavik for repairs following a fire last year, Visir.is reported.

There were only three people aboard the ship when it caught fire and all escaped safely. On the other hand, it is believed the ship is now totally beyond repair and with tall flames and regular explosions preventing fire crews from getting near, it is feared the fire could rage for days before Athena finally sinks. It is not yet known how the fire started.

Runavik is 11 kilometres north of the Faroese capital, Thorshofn. The town is in the south of Austurey and was originally only a fishing port. Now it has become a centre for the North Sea oil industry and a transit port for goods to and from Europe.

Athena was built in 1992 and is owned by the Faroese shipping company, Thor. Thor is involved in shipping services for the oil and fishing industries in all the world’s oceans. Athena is (was) one of the biggest trawlers in the Faroe Islands.

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