Wightlink says its Portsmouth to Fishbourne car ferries are now running after a fire on board the St Faith this morning (Thursday).
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There was a two-hour delay for passengers on the next boat (St Cecilia) after flames broke out on the 9am car ferry sailing. Smoke was visible at the ferry sailed across the Solent. The Cecilia has now docked safely and passengers have disembarked.
The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue says it believes the fire started in an air conditioning unit. The St Faith has been taken out of service.
On board were 52 passengers and 13 crew. No-one was hurt and passengers disembarked safely at Fishbourne, where the ferry was met by Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue crews. They are carrying out an investigation into what happened.
Speaking to Isle of Wight Radio at the scene, firefighter James Lucy, Station Commander at Newport Fire Station, said:
“It would appear…a fire started externally to the bridge…It’s been extinguished by the crews on board. The vessel has been docked. We cant to confirm the fire is definitively out before we carry out any investigations.”
The leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Councillor Dave Stewart was made aware of an incident on board the Wightlink ferry this morning by senior managers of the company, on the understanding the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service were already in attendance.
Councillor Stewart said:
“I have offered any further assistance that the council can provide, to help manage the situation.”
Other Wightlink Services are unaffected by delays.
In a statement, HM Coastguard said:
“At about 9.30 today the St Faith Wight Link car ferry contacted the UK Coastguard reporting a fire on their bridge wing port side. When the call was made, the vessel was on route from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, Isle of Wight.
“The vessel is now alongside the ferry terminal in Fishbourne. UK Coastguard immediately sent the Bembridge Coastguard Rescue Team, Cowes RNLI Lifeboat, Isle of Wight Fire Service and the Hampshire Police to the scene.”