REPORTS of a blaze on board a crane ship also carrying an "extremely flammable gas" sparked a huge emergency response.

Firefighters and paramedics as well as the coastguard and RNLI were all called to the fire onboard the deck of a ship off Canvey, which was transporting large crane parts to the London Gateway Port at around 6.25pm yesterday.

Huge response - coastguard officers on the sceneHuge response - coastguard officers on the scene (Image: HM Coastguard Southend)


The 240m Zhen Hua 28 heavy lift carrier was also transporting 20 canisters of Oxy-Aceltylene, a gas which is used for welding and, according to HM Coastguard, is "extremely flammable and can form an explosive atmosphere in the presence of air or oxygen".

Essex Fire and Rescue crews fought the fire on deck as well as using a large drone to help monitor the incident from the air.

Passing Southend - the Zhen Hua 28 vessel earlier that day (Image: Martin Harvey)

A coastguard spokesman said: "Due to the scale of the incident officers from all three of the emergency services on scene - fire, coastguard and ambulance - worked closely throughout, planning how to safely bring the incident to a safe and swift conclusion.

"HM Coastguard regularly respond to incidents with vessels which are moored in UK ports across the UK.

Large scale incident - coastguard, firefighters and ambulance crews on sceneLarge scale incident - coastguard, firefighters and ambulance crews on scene (Image: HM Coastguard Southend)

"Part of our role involves managing resources and the response that goes with it.

"Should you see anyone in trouble on or near the coast, don’t hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard, you could save someone’s life."

Essex Fire and Rescue Service has been contacted for comment.