Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Wightlink ferry: Third fire in 16 months

Wight Sky Image copyright MAIB
Image caption The fire broke out on the vehicle ferry Wight Sky while it was berthed in Lymington

A ferry service has been suspended following another fire onboard its ship - the third fire in 16 months.

The previous one on Wight Sky was in August. In September last year, a crew member was hurt in another blaze, also in the engine room.

Operator Wightlink said all passengers and crew were safely taken off the ferry earlier. It was berthed in Lymington at the time.

The fire broke out in the early hours and was confined to the engine room.

Fire crews from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service brought the fire under control but the ferry remains out of action until further notice.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has started an investigation.

Customers with bookings have been advised to use Wightlink's Portsmouth to Fishbourne ferry crossing instead.

The company said the engine affected by the fire was "brand new" and had been installed during a refit this autumn.

Image copyright MAIB
Image caption The "most probable trigger" for the engine fire in 2017 was deemed to be debris in its oil channels, a report found

In August, 117 people were evacuated when a fire broke out and the main engine failed shortly after Wight Sky set sail from Yarmouth towards Lymington. An investigation by the MAIB into that fire is currently under way.

In the 2017 fire, an engineer who had been in the engine room at the time, was treated for burns to his hands and face and remained in hospital for a week. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An MAIB report into that blaze concluded it had also been caused by "a catastrophic failure of one of its main propulsion engines".

The "most probable trigger for the failure was debris in the engine's oil channels" after it had been rebuilt.

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