ferry_agroundThe Fred Olsen Bonanza Express transporting 172 passengers from La Gomera to Los Christianos harbour ran aground on the beach of Los Tarajales last night.

Passengers, and eye witnesses on the shore described hearing a loud bang just after 8pm as the ferry struck the rocks, the vibrations from the impact were felt 500 yards away.

The ferry’s second engine developed reversing problems during the docking procedure and the first engine had already broken down.

The 95m long catamaran had been operating since 1999 and was the first of the company’s high-speed wave piercing catamarans with a top speed of 38 knots (more than 70kmh) and capable of carrying a maximum of 800 passengers and 235 cars. She covers the route between Valverde in El Hierro, La Gomera and Los Cristianos.

rescued_passengersAll passengers and 16 crew were taken off the stricken ferry just after 9pm by two Marine rescue craft and a Guardia Civil patrol boat, which ferried everyone to shore. There were no reported injuries though two were found to be illegal immigrants and will be deported.

A large oil slick developed around the boat and was quickly contained by a floating barrier.

A full investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched.