SPECTACULAR pictures show how fire erupted on an Isle of Wight ferry this morning.
A plume of black smoke billowed from the Wightlink car ferry, St Faith, after it left Portsmouth at about 9am.
Reports said that all passengers had been moved to one end of the ferry and that the blaze had been contained.
Pictures of the fire unfloding were taken by one of the passengers, Chris Ison.
People ashore saw the drama unfold in the Solent.
John Williams is the director of classfieds magazine Islebuy and witnessed the blaze.
He said: ‘I saw the large black plumes of smoke billowing from the vessel at about 9.25am.
‘I could tell something was seriously wrong due to the dense black smoke, opposed to the usual standard white smoke that would come from it.
‘The smoke was coming from toward the top, front area of the vessel which immediately indicated something wasn’t quite right to me.’
A Coastguard spokesman at Lee-on-the-Solent said the fire was on the bridge wing and not in a passenger area.
Firefighters stood by at the Fishbourne car ferry terminal on the Isle of Wight to await the ferry’s arrival.
The 9am car ferry sailing from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, St Faith, has berthed at Fishbourne.
A Wightlink spokesman said the ‘small fire’ ignited on an outside deck in a non-passenger area close to the ship’s bridge.
‘It was immediately put out by members of the crew and no one was injured. Passengers and vehicles disembarked from the vessel, as usual,’ the spokesman added.
There were 52 passengers and 13 crew onboard the ferry.
Wightlink services to and from the Isle of Wight are running normally.
St Faith remains at Fishbourne while initial investigations are carried out.
‘The relevant authorities have been informed,’ the Wightlink spokesman said.