Cargo ship which caught fire off Cromer now moored at Great Yarmouth

The vessel Elbetor off the coast of Gorleston.Picture: James Bass

The vessel Elbetor off the coast of Gorleston.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

A cargo ship caught up in a dramatic fire operation yesterday was still moored up in Great Yarmouth this evening.

The Elbetor ship, five miles off the coast of Cromer. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI Cromer

The Elbetor ship, five miles off the coast of Cromer. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI Cromer - Credit: Archant

A dozen firefighters were flown in to tackle a blaze which broke out in the crews' quarters aboard the cargo ship Elbetor, while it was off the Cromer coast. It had left Kings Lynn on Tuesday evening.

The alarm was raised when a mayday signal was received by the UK Coastguard at 5.20am. The mayday message was broadcast to all shipping and several vessels responded offering their assistance.

Two coastguard helicopters, Cromer RNLI Lifeboat 'Lester' and two other vessels responded to the mayday call.

The first six firefighters from Humberside were airlifted to the stricken vessel by a coastguard helicopter, at 10.30am. They helped the seven-strong crew extinguish the blaze using specialist equipment flown in with them.

A helicopter flying near the Elbetor cargo. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI Cromer

A helicopter flying near the Elbetor cargo. Photo: Chris Key, RNLI Cromer - Credit: Archant

An hour later a second team of firefighters, flown in from Caernarfon, north Wales, joined forces with the first team to assist the operation, checking for hot spots and damping down. The fire was put out by around 9am.

The 87-metre Elbetor, which was carrying wheat, was moved south-east down the coast to move it away from gas pipes that it was anchored near.

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None of the ship's crew were injured in the fire, and it is believed they are still in Cromer. While the ship itself spent yesterday morning anchored five miles from Gorleston. It was expected to come into port at Yarmouth around 9am, but was eventually moored at 1.35pm. It is thought it will now be inspected, before continuing its journey to Rotterdam