Reports came in last night about a fire aboard DFDS Seaways, King Seaways as she sailed her regular route from North Shields to Ijmuiden. My first thought lay with those onboard, you glimpse a headline regarding a ship being on fire and always fear the worst, then give the strong winds we are having in the north east at the moment some consideration and your mind runs away from you.
MS King Seaways sounded her general emergency alarm signal at roughly 10.45 yesterday evening and guests were informed to make their way onto the open decks. The fire was extinguished within 15-minutes of the alarm being raised.
Helicopters were called in from RAF Boulmer and Leconfield to assist and air lift several people to hospital, all of which were suffering from smoke inhalation. The ship changed her course for Ijmuiden and turned to head back toward Port of Tyne where she arrive at roughly 4am this morning.
Police were waiting for her arrival and have arrested a 26-year old man on suspicion of arson and a 28-year old man has been held on suspicion of affray. The fire broke out in a passenger cabin and it is yet to be confirmed whether the fire was started deliberately or if it was an accident.
Thankfully there were no serious injuries!
A spokesman for DFDS Seaways said “Fifteen passengers and eight crew members are reported to have suffered from smoke-related injuries. They have been checked by a doctor on-board, and two passengers and four crew members were taken ashore by helicopter for further medical assistance at a local hospital in the UK.”
The MCA said it would survey the vessel for any lasting damage. The vessel is expected to continue with her usual itinerary from tomorrow.
I was on this ship sailing the same route to Holland just 2-weeks ago and she really is lovely. I hope those that were onboard are beginning to relax, that this has not left any long-term emotional scars and those that were airlifted to hospital make a full recovery.
For those that have been detained, may justice be served! Over 1000 lives were put in danger because of careless actions and regardless whether it was accidental or not, there should never have been a naked flame in the cabin to begin with!