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Lorries destroyed in fire aboard passenger ship docking at Harwich

PUBLISHED: 11:21 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:04 18 January 2018

Several lorries were destroyed and the ship was smoke-logged, but no-one was injured. Picture: JUSTIN HANNAM

Several lorries were destroyed and the ship was smoke-logged, but no-one was injured. Picture: JUSTIN HANNAM

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Lorries were destroyed in a fire aboard a passenger liner on its way to Harwich International Port this morning.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service was called at 4.20am to the port in Parkeston Quay, after being alerted by the Coastguard that there was a fire aboard a 400-passenger ship, the Stena Britannica, due to dock at Harwich at 5am.

A spokesman from the fire service said the fire was found in a refrigerator lorry on a lower deck and had spread to a number of surrounding vehicles.

Several lorries were destroyed as a result and the ship suffered smoke damage.

Incident commander Lee Lucas said: “As the fire was on a lower deck of the ship and in a confined space the area had become smoke logged and was difficult to access.

“Our firefighters worked with the ship’s crew and the Port Authority to organise freight to be removed to allow access to tackle the fire.

“Once onboard firefighters began tackling the fire in sections and brought it under control quickly despite difficult conditions.”

The flames were put out by 7am, but remained on board to ventilate the vessel and damp down hotspots.

At 10.15am the vehicles involved were taken off the ship while firefighters continued to work at the scene.

There has not been any evidence so far to suggest it was started deliberately Picture: JUSTIN HANNAMThere has not been any evidence so far to suggest it was started deliberately Picture: JUSTIN HANNAM

A spokeswoman from Stena Line said: “Stena Line confirms that an incident occurred on Stena Britannica early this morning 17 January while en route from Hoek van Holland to Harwich, when a fire started in a truck of a customer in the lowerhold (deck 1) of the vessel.

“The fire was extinguished by crew and the vessel proceeded to Harwich where passengers disembarked.

“No injuries to any persons. As per our procedures, the fire department was called onsite.”

An investigation is set to get underway into the cause.

A spokeswoman from Stena Line, which runs the ship, confirmed a fire had taken place, but all procedures were followed. Picture: JUSTIN HANNAMA spokeswoman from Stena Line, which runs the ship, confirmed a fire had taken place, but all procedures were followed. Picture: JUSTIN HANNAM

A fire service spokesman said that while there was nothing to suggest it was suspicious, nothing has been ruled out at this stage.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said that it was called around 6.20am and sent two rapid response vehicles, two specialist ambulance units (hazard area response teams) and an ambulance officer.

“The situation is ongoing,” the spokeswoman said.

“At present there are no reported injuries and we are there to support emergency service operations.”

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