Man charged with arson after DFDS ferry fire

A 26-year-old man has been charged with arson reckless to endangering life and affray following a report of arson on the DFDS Seaways ferry from North Shields to Amsterdam on Sunday.

Boden George Hughes of Fulwell Road, Sunderland, has been remanded in custody to appear at North Tyneside Magistrates on Tuesday, 31 December, at 10am.

A second man who is 28, who was arrested for affray has been bailed pending further enquiries.

The King Seaways was heading from North Shields International Ferry Terminal to Amsterdam on Saturday night, when a fire broke out in a cabin, forcing the boat to return to North Shields in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Six people were airlifted off the boat by helicopters from RAF Leconfield and RAF Boulmer and taken to Scarborough hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, and a further 15 passengers and eight crew were treated on board, also for smoke inhalation.

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police confirmed the arrests and said: “We received a report from the Coastguard at around 12.05am on Sunday, December 29, of a suspected arson onboard a ferry in the North Sea.

“Officers from Northumbria Police are working with DFDS Seaways and other partners to assist with the situation.”

A spokesperson for DFDS Seaways said: “Crew acted quickly to contain the fire, which was extinguished within 15 minutes.

“We can confirm that there were 946 passengers and 127 crew members onboard.

“Fifteen passengers and eight crew members are reported to have suffered from smoke-related injuries.

“They have been checked by a doctor onboard, and two passengers and four crew members have been taken ashore by helicopter for further medical assistance at a local hospital in the UK.”

The boat arrived back into North Shields at 4am on Sunday, but passengers did not begin to disembark until 9.30am.