MORE than 100 passengers were evacuated from a cross-Solent ferry this evening after a blaze broke out on board the vessel.

The Wightlink vessel Wight Sky was on its way from Yarmouth to Lymington when the blaze fire started, prompting the crew to return to the Island.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the fire was extinguished by the crew before the vessel reached Yarmouth.

She said all 117 passengers were evacuated from the ferry, adding that no-one had been injured in the incident.

Wight Sky was escorted into Yarmouth Harbour by the town's all-weather lifeboat as fire crews waited on the quayside.

The blaze is thought to have started in the engine room.

It comes almost a year after a crewman was engulfed in flames after a blaze broke out on the same ferry.

The engineer suffered burns to his hands and face in the incident aboard Wight Sky and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It happened after the Wightlink ferry suffered a "catastrophic" engine failure, followed by a fire, in September last year.

A report published last month by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said the most likely cause of the incident was debris entering the engine’s oil channels during a rebuild.

"The engine had been completely rebuilt and failed after five-and-a-half-hours of operation," said the report.

"Debris could have entered the oil channels during the three days that the partially-assembled engine had been exposed to the elements."

The report added that firefighting equipment failed after 27 minutes following a power failure.

Wight Sky, with 40 people on board, was nearing the end of its 40-minute journey from Lymington to Yarmouth when the drama began.