UK

Cruise ship Boudicca hit by engine room fire

Boudicca Image copyright Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Image caption The Fred Olsen cruise ship Boudicca is carrying 784 passengers and 356 crew

A cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 people was left without power off Morocco after an engine room fire.

The fire at 04:00 GMT left the ship "listing" and "in pitch black", said Dave Tonkin, whose father is on board.

The ship was without engine power for about five hours.

Fred Olsen, the company which owns the ship, said it was now fully stable and had five engines running with two still not working. There was no danger to passengers or crew, it said.

Image copyright Dave Tonkin

Gavin Poole, from Wimbledon, south London, said his parents, who are in their 70s, texted him in the early hours of the morning.

"The texts said, 'no engines, fire in the engine room, there's smoke, we're in life jackets and the captain says everything is under control'," he said.

"I spoke to my parents a bit later at 07:30 BST and they were in their cabin still in their life jackets. The fire was out, but half of the ship had power and the other half didn't, and it was listing."

Ken Watkinson, a passenger on board the Boudicca, said the situation had remained calm throughout.

"Around midnight, they announced there were problems with the electricity. I stayed in my bed and this morning it is all back to normal."

No injuries

He said some cabins were still without electricity, but "the mood is fine and everyone is back to having a good time".

Fred Olsen spokeswoman Rachael Jackson said at no point were holidaymakers asked to don life jackets or gather at muster stations, as the situation was contained by crew members.

"The fire was in the engine room, but has now been extinguished, and no guests or crew have been injured," she said.

The Boudicca listed for "a short period" but was now stable and travelling again, although more slowly than normal, she added.

Image copyright Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Image caption Fred Olsen Cruise Lines tweeted this picture of the Boudicca en route to the Canary Islands at a rate of about eight knots

Two main engines and three auxiliary engines are running, while two other engines are still being mended.

"At the current speed of eight knots, we are currently reviewing the onward itinerary and will make a decision as to our next port of call in due course," she said.

Boudicca left Southampton on 20 January for an 18-night cruise of Cape Verde and the Canary Islands.

The ship's online locator currently shows it off the coast of Casablanca, Morocco. It left Cadiz, Spain, on Saturday, and was due to arrive in Lanzarote on Monday.

The Boudicca currently has 784 passengers and 356 crew on board.

It is one of four cruise liners owned by the UK-based, Norwegian-owned company Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

The Boudicca made headline last year when Fred Olsen paid £280,000 in compensation to 130 holidaymakers who suffered gastric illnesses on board between October 2009 and May 2010.

The ship was also hit in 2013 when 98 passengers contracted a vomiting bug.

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