A fire broke out yesterday aboard an Egyptian bound ferry, the Pella, in the Gulf of Aqaba, which is the northeastern tip of the Red Sea.

There were approximately 1240 passengers aboard the cruise ferry at the time of the fire.  The ferry was ten miles off of the coast of Jordan.  A number of military vessels and helicopters responded to the emergency.  There are conflicting news accounts whether the rescue operations were conducted solely by Jordan or a combination of Jordanian and Egyptian vessels.  

One passenger died.  All other passengers were rescued and various news sources are reporting between twelve and twenty-five passengers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation injuries. 

The Pella is owned by the Al-Jisr Al-Arabi company, which is described as a shipping company owned by Egyptian and Jordanian businessmen.

The AP reports that in February 2006, about 1,000 passengers, mostly Egyptian workers returning home from Saudi Arabia, died when a fire broke out on a ferry. 

Pella Fire - Egypt - Cruise Fire

Photo credit: Abraham Farajyan / EPA (via MSNBC photoblog)

For aditional information about cruise ship fires, consider reading:

Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires – Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?