Yarmouth ferry fire will cause ‘disruption’ Monday say Wightlink

Eight fire engines are attended reports of a fire on a Wightlink ferry.

The Yarmouth to Lymington ferry, Wight Sky, has suffered an “engine fire”, confirms Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (IWFRS).

The Wight Sky ferry has caught fire before, injuring a crewman in September 2017 when debris got into the engine.

Updated 9pm, August 26: The engine fire has been confirmed by IWFRS, no one was injured but the Yarmouth – Lymington ferry service has been suspended. Wightlink have so far referred to the incident as a “technical issue”. Alternative ferry travel arrangements have been made for booked customers from Fishbourne and Portsmouth.

David Holmes, who witnessed the incident at around 7.15pm on Sunday (August 26), said: “There’s eight fire engines, police, coastguard, and a lifeboat. I’ve heard it’s a major engine fire, the Wight Sky the boat is now out of action, the passengers who boarded are being held in the waiting room this end. I can see there is no power on the ship, no lights whatsoever. It seems well under control.

“The boat is now out of action. The passenger’s vehicles are stuck on board. There are hoses running onto the ship, but no signs of any fire.

“They’re waiting for the MCA, is what someone just told me.”

See video from the incident below:

Ambulances are also on scene.

The Wight Sky boat is a car ferry and there is currently no ferry service between Lymington and Yarmouth.



Pictures from the scene appear to show a large scale IWFRS presence.

Onlookers and emergency services at the incident – pictures by David Holmes

An engine from Ryde Fire Station has been sent in to assist.

Mr Holmes added at 8.30pm: “The lifeboat has stood down and returned to its berth, but the fire engines and the ferry are still there.

“The service is clearly not going to run for hours, I would imagine.

“I believe that ferry already had an engine down that needed replacing. It could be because of today’s high winds, they’ve operated with an insufficient number of engines for the conditions. Maybe that put an additional strain on the engines?

“It could have a significant impact on the Bank Holiday – the ferries are fully booked tomorrow. Heaven knows what they are going to do with passengers and vehicles tomorrow.”


Fire confirmed

Fire presence at the incident – by David Holmes

A spokesman from IWFRS has confirmed there was a fire on board the ferry, Wightlink staff attended the fire initially while the boat was in transit toward Lymington.

Fire crews boarded the ship at Yarmouth, but the fire was extinguished before it returned.

There have been no injuries or casualties, confirms the fire service.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have been contacted for comment.

Update 9.25pm: A spokesman for the MCA said: “The fire service boarded the ferry, after all of the passengers and vehicles were taken off, to inspect the engine room. The MAIB are aware and will be investigating how and why the fire started.

“The vessel will have to undergo repairs and an MCA inspection before it can be used in service again. The duty surveyor is aware of the incident, but as yet I do not have a confirmed time for inspection.”

Wightlink comment

The scene at Yarmouth – by David Holmes

Update 9.32pm: A spokesman for Wightlink said: “The Wightlink ferry Wight Sky has been taken out of service this evening because of a technical problem on board the vessel.

“The ship’s engine room fire extinguishing system was deployed.

“It was the 6.20pm sailing from Yarmouth with 117 passengers, 10 crew members and 30 vehicles on board. It returned safely to Yarmouth.

“No-one was hurt in the incident. All passengers disembarked in the usual way at Yarmouth and their vehicles have been unloaded.

“A fire engine and ambulance met Wight Sky on its return to Yarmouth and fire officers have been on board the vessel.

“Wightlink engineers will carry out a full investigation. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been notified.

“This evening’s remaining services on that route were cancelled and customers have been re-scheduled on other sailings.

“There will be some disruption to customers booked on the Lymington-Yarmouth route on Monday morning.

“Wightlink apologises for the inconvenience this may cause and advises them to check their emails and Wightlink’s website for further information.”

Updates to follow.