A FIRE broke out on board a ship carrying 400 passengers into Harwich in the early hours of the morning.

Ten fire crews were called to a fire on Stena Britannica while en route from Hoek van Holland to Harwich shortly before 4.20am which was due to dock at Harwich International Port at about 5am.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Wreckage - A lorry damaged in the fire (Pictures: Justin Hannam)

When the shipped docked firefighters reported that the fire was on a refrigerator lorry on a lower deck of the ship and had spread to a number of surrounding vehicles.

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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 on board firefighters began tackling the fire in sections and brought it under control quickly despite difficult conditions.”

A spokesman from Stena Line said the fire started in a truck of a customer in the lowerhold of the vessel. 

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Damage - The top and back of this lorry was damaged in the blaze

He added: "The fire was extinguished by crew and the vessel proceeded to Harwich where passengers disembarked."

There were no injuries to any person on the ship.

By 7am firefighters had put out the fire and remained on board to tackle hotspots as well as ventilate the area.

At 10.15am the vehicles involved in the fire were taken off the ship while firefighters continued to monitor for hotspots and ensure the scene was safe.

An investigation into the cause of the fire will be carried out.