A WORKER had to rush for safety after the giant vehicle he was operating at Southampton docks caught fire today.

The blaze broke out in the engine of the straddle carrier 40 feet off the ground at around 5.25am.

The equipment was being used to carry goods around the Prince Charles Container Port in the Western Docks, which is currently hosting the world's biggest ship, the CMA CGM Marco Polo.

The operator was alerted by alarms going off in his cab, and when he investigated he discovered a fire in the engine.

Fire crews from Redbridge and St Mary's were called to the facility at Dock Gate 20, where the team of 10 firefighters used an aerial ladder platform to tackle the blaze, which it is believed was caused by mechanical failure.

The straddle carrier was not loaded at the time, and no containers were damaged. 

It is believed the worker was unharmed, and operations at the port continued unaffected.