A HISTORIC charter vessel had to be towed back to Portsmouth Naval Base after breaking down in the Solent.
An RNLI lifeboat was called after motorboat HSL 102 – which is owned and chartered by the Naval Base Property Trust – suffered an engine failure off the coast of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.
Passengers heading to Cowes, including five Royal Navy sailors, were evacuated at noon yesterday when smoke was spotted coming out of the ship’s engine.
Four crews of firefighters attended the dockyard after reports that the ship had caught fire.
The motorboat was towed back to the naval base where the smoke was found to have been caused when the ship’s engine overheated, causing a pipe to split.
Peter Goodship, chief executive of the property trust, said: ‘On this occasion there really was smoke without fire.
‘The engine was shut down, the passengers came back to shore, and everyone lived happily ever after. Thankfully no real harm was done.’