EMERGENCY services have rushed to Southampton docks this afternoon after a fire broke out on a Red Funnel ferry.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Service were called to the Red Funnel terminal in Southampton today as a fire broke out in the kitchen area of the vessel.

The boat was due to dock in the city having left East Cowes.

It's understood that passengers have been told to wear lifejackets.

Six fire engines, five special appliances and seven fire officers have been called to the scene at Red Funnel's terminal in Southampton.

A spokesperson for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service said the crews are waiting for the vessel to dock.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service have said the cause of the fire was a chip pan in the galley of the ferry. 

They added that the on-board auto suppression system had dealt with the fire by the time the ferry had arrived alongside.

Firefighters boarded to escort crew and passengers safely from the ship. They inspected the ship and found no further fire, staying on board to clear smoke.

Stop message was received at 4.11pm​.

A spokesperson for Red Funnel said: “This afternoon there was a small, contained galley fire on board the 1500 Red Osprey from Southampton. 

"No passengers were injured, and the vessel has now returned safely to Southampton where our crew is currently assisting passengers with disembarking. 

"Emergency services have been called as a precautionary measure to assess and support the situation. 

"In line with standard operating procedure, our crew deployed our emergency protocols, which included the distribution of life vests and instructions to proceed to muster stations.

“As the safety of our passengers and crew is our first priority, the 16:00 sailing from Southampton and 17:30 from East Cowes will be cancelled whilst we continue to work with emergency services. 

"Due to the ongoing assessment, we anticipate there may be further disruptions to our sailings today and we will continue to update our live service status. 

"We encourage customers to find alternative travel where possible. 

"We sincerely apologise for any difficulties this may cause to customer journeys and are working toward resuming our normal timetable as quickly and as safely as possible.”