CRUISE SHIP IN MAJOR CHANNEL FIRE ALERT
Calypso cruise ship
Firefighters were scrambled to a ship in the English Channel last night after a Mayday was received saying it was on fire.
The blaze broke out around 4.00am (6 May) on board the Calypso cruise ship which had 708 people on board.
Firefighters flew out to the ship, reported to be about 20 miles from Beachy Head and managed to put out the fire shortly after 6.00am.
There were no casualties and it was not necessary to evacuate the ship.
The fire on the ship which is carrying 462 passengers was tackled by members of the ship's 246 crew before firefighters arrived on four lifeboats and in a rescue helicopter.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service firefighters tackled the blaze, and a service spokeswoman later said 18 firefighters had stayed on board to cool the blaze area.
Dover Coastguard is to send a maritime surveyor out to see if it will need to be towed.
Dover Coastguard Rescue Co-ordination Centre manager Spike Hughes reported to the BBC it was likely the Calypso would be towed to Southampton, Hampshire.
A six-strong fire team from the Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) has been taken to the vessel by helicopter, to investigate and make a decision on whether to evacuate the ship.
The MIRG is the UK's first specialised fire and rescue service for incidents at sea and is one of the first of its kind in the world - this incident is its first live job.