North Sea Ferry Fire


    A man has been charged with arson after a fire alert on a North Sea ferry led to an emergency evacuation.

    Northumbria Police said Boden George Hughes, 26, from Sunderland, had been charged with arson reckless to endangering life and affray.

    At the time, the DFDS Seaways ferry, which was bound for the Netherlands, had 946 passengers and 127 crew on board.

    He was due before magistrates in North Shields on Tuesday.

    Another man aged 28, who was also arrested on suspicion of affray, has been released on bail.

    Helicopters from RAF Leconfield and RAF Boulmer were sent to the scene to airlift 6 people suffering the effects of smoke inhalation to Scarborough Hospital.

    Sqn Ldr Dave Webster said that when the RAF had been called for assistance, it was initially thought 23 people would need to be winched to safety but that figure was later downgraded.

    A total of fifteen passengers and eight crew suffered "smoke-related injuries," according to the vessel's operator DFDS Seaways.

    A DFDS spokesperson said the fire had started at about 22:45 GMT as the ferry sailed from North Shields to Ijmuiden, in the Netherlands, but was extinguished within 15 minutes.

    It returned early on Sunday to North Shields, where passengers disembarked following police interviews.

    The company said it was doing "everything to help" passengers complete their journey from Tyneside.


Collated by Philip Turnbull







Registered Office: Southwold House, 66 Botley Road, Park Gate, Southampton, United Kingdom. Company Number: 07810000