Fire breaks out on English Channel ferry

There were 94 passengers and 89 crew members on board

The ferry had set sail from Dover on England's south coast. Bloomberg
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A fire broke out on board a ferry crossing the English Channel with almost 200 people on board.

Three lifeboats from Kent, on England’s southern coast, and one tugboat from northern France were sent out to tackle the blaze.

Irish Ferries, the boat's operator, said there were 94 passengers and 89 crew members on board, with all “safe and accounted for”.

The coastguard has said it was alerted to a blaze in the engine room of the Isle of Innisfree a little after 5.30pm.

“All passengers and crew are accounted for and no injuries have been reported,” a coastguard representative said.

“RNLI Lifeboats from Dungeness, Dover and Ramsgate were sent along with a French tug to stand by the vessel.

“The three RNLI lifeboats have been stood down and the French coastguard is now coordinating the incident.”

The boat was midway through its journey from Dover to Calais when the fire began. It has since been extinguished.

Irish Ferries said the lifeboats were sent out as a “precautionary measure” and the Isle of Innisfree was now “safely at anchor”.

“As the situation is stable, no emergency assistance is expected to be required,” a company representative said.

Once the boat arrives in Calais, the operator will open a “full investigation into the incident in conjunction with the relevant authorities”.

“In the meantime, the Isle of Innisfree's imminent sailings have been cancelled, and affected customers are being contacted with alternative travel arrangements,” it said.

“Irish Ferries would like to sincerely apologise to all passengers affected by this evening's incident, and the disruption to their onward journeys.”

Updated: March 04, 2023, 12:10 AM