The Assalam's end in a watery grave off Africa came less than a year after the new service, the much-heralded Canary link to Morocco, came into operation. The Assalam, which belonged to the Naviera Armas fleet, plied the route between Puerto del Rosario in Fuerteventura and Tarfaya, a little-known port in southern Morocco.
And it was at Tarfaya that the vessel, a 42-year-old ship which previously went under the name of Ciudad de La Laguna and the Trasmediterr ánea livery, met its fate.
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High winds and rough seas battered the ferry as it left the port, sending it into the side of the harbour entrance. For reasons as yet not clear the captain carried on and it was not until about five miles out to sea that what have been enigmatically described as "complications" occurred. The Assalama began to list and take on water and the order went out to abandon ship.