Emsworth photographer captures dramatic ferry fire

These dramatic images of a fire which broke out on a passenger ferry yesterday were captured by Emsworth photographer Chris Ison.

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 4:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:45 pm
Crew of the Wightlink ferry, St Faith, rush to extinguish a fire as it takes hold close to the bridge of the vessel as it sails to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight. The fire was brought under control quite quickly and brought into the port soon after. Picture date Thursday 19th January, 2017. Picture by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 [email protected] PPP-170119-105506001

The blaze erupted on the Wightlink car ferry, St Faith, shortly after it left its base at Portsmouth, at 9am.

All the ship’s 52 passengers were evacuated to the rear of the vessel as flames engulfed a deck walkway near the ferry’s bridge.

Chris’ photographs show crew members desperately fighting back the blaze, which belched out thick black smoke high into the sky.

Pictures by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 [email protected] CIP-0096-0003

The 47-year-old, who was making a day-trip to the island, said he was shocked at how quickly the fire gripped the ship.

“In about two to three seconds it went from being the size of a small bin fire to flames higher than the bridge of the ship. That was quite an intense moment.

“The fire was right behind the bridge. The captain must have had quite a fright.”

Within moments, members of the ship’s crew were battling the flames with water hoses.

Pictures by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 [email protected] CIP-0096-0003

Mr Ison added: “Nobody panicked, everyone was very calm.

“The staff clearly knew what they were doing in fighting the fire. I think we were in pretty safe hands.”

Firefighters stood by at the Fishbourne car ferry terminal on the Isle of Wight to await the ferry’s arrival.

A spokesman for Wightlink said the fire had ‘affected an outside deck in a non-passenger area of the ship.

Pictures by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 [email protected] CIP-0096-0003

“It was immediately put out by members of the crew and no one was injured.

“Passengers and vehicles disembarked from the vessel, as usual,” the spokesman added.

The travel firm said that an investigation has since been launched into the cause of the blaze.