Wightlink have confirmed that a “small fire” broke out on the 9am car ferry sailing from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, St Faith.
They say the fire broke out on their bridge wing port side, during the journey (later saying it was on “an outside deck in a non-passenger area”) and was extinguished by the crew within minutes, no one was injured.
A call was made to the UK Coastguard who immediately sent the Bembridge Coastguard Rescue Team, Cowes RNLI Lifeboat, Isle of Wight Fire Service and the Hampshire Police to the scene.
Thick plumes of black smoke could be seen from the Island. Portsmouth News has shocking images of the fire, which can hardly be described as “small”.
There were 52 passengers and 13 crew onboard the ferry.
Wightlink say their services to and from the Isle of Wight are running normally. St Faith is at Fishbourne while initial investigations are carried out. The relevant authorities have been informed.
Statement from the council
Two hours after the fire, a statement was issued by the council. This is something we have never seen before and are unclear as to why the Leader would be issuing a statement in relation to a small fire that was extinguished by the ferry company crew within minutes.
A spokesperson said,
“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.”
Statement from IWC Leader added. Link to images on Portsmouth news added. Info from Coastguard added.