Passenger ferry adrift

Passengers on the "Spirit of Altruism" have been given life jackets and are awaiting rescue efforts. Picture: SUPPLIED/LEPANI BATABA

Passengers on the "Spirit of Altruism" have been given life jackets and are awaiting rescue efforts. Picture: SUPPLIED/LEPANI BATABA

Update: 12:09PM A PATTERSON Brothers Shipping vessel has run aground off of Naigani Island this morning with approximately 200 passengers on board.

The Spirit of Altruism left Natovi bound for the Vanua Levu port of Nabouwalu at 8am today.

Speaking from the vessel, passenger Lepani Bataba said the ships crew had activated emergency and rescue protocols.

“We developed engine problems around 9am and started to drift for about 200metres until we hit a reef,” Mr Bataba said.

“We have all been given life jackets and are pleased with everything they are doing. We have been told another vessel is on its way to us and that we should prepare to board it.”

The Fiji Martitime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre reports it is monitoring the situation and two “good samaritan” vessels are en route to troubled ferry.