A blaze aboard a Wightlink ferry yesterday (Thursday) left many confused after the ferry company described it as “a small fire” and insisted that “services to and from the Isle of Wight are running normally”.
Most people might consider a “small fire” as something like the photo on the right. However, when photos taken on board the ferry by passengers were released across the media, it was clear the fire was anything but “small”.
That said, it was, according to Wightlink, extinguished within minutes thanks to the brave and swift actions of the captain and crew. Well done to them!
The Fire Brigade said,
“It could have been a serious incident thankfully because of hte swift action of the crew we managed to avoid that.”
Passenger, Chris Ison, said,
“It was a big fire that took hold very quickly and they put it out very quickly.
“Within a couple of seconds it got much much bigger and heavy black smoke started billowing straight up.”
Click on the links in the Tweets to see photos
— The News, Portsmouth (@portsmouthnews) January 19, 2017
What’s “a small fire”?
Curious as to Wightlink’s definition of a “small fire”, OnTheWight got in touch with them to find out.
A spokesperson told us,
“We would call this a small fire because nobody was injured and it was confined to one piece of equipment in a small area of the ship on an outside deck.
“It did not cause significant damage to the vessel or systems and the Master was able to operate the ship normally in all respects.”
Damage to timetable
Although the damage might not have been considered “significant” by Wightlink, it certainly has affected the timetable. Yesterday and today, passengers were unable to turn up and sail nor able to book for today.
In fact, Wightlink have had to take St Faith out of service for repair (as can be seen from the photos across the newspapers, the fire caused damage to the door to the bridge as well as at least two windows). This has resulted in a reduced timetable for at least today.
They went on to say
“Unfortunately, our sailings are currently closed to new bookings for Friday (20 January 2017), as we cannot bring St Faith back into service until she undergoes repairs, following yesterday morning’s fire.
“The incident has significantly reduced our capacity to carry vehicles to and from the Isle of Wight. Colleagues were yesterday busy contacting affected customers on today’s cancelled sailings to make alternative arrangements for them.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience this causes to our customers.
“However, we do not anticipate there will be any issues this Saturday or Sunday. Customers can still book and amend reservations for this weekend on our website and through our contact centre (space permitting).”
Wightlink advise St Faith will return to service at 14:00 this afternoon, sailing from Portsmouth.
The revised timetable
Wightlink yesterday tweeted details of the revised timetable. A number of readers have been in touch explaining that Wightlink would not take bookings on the Fishbourne route and others who have bookings and have been moved to Yarmouth.
The Portsmouth-Fishbourne car ferry will be running a revised timetable Friday, 20 Jan. More details at https://t.co/ubJ6rBceIu
— Wightlink Travel (@WightlinkTravel) January 19, 2017