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Lorry on passenger ferry heading for Harwich catches fire

Firefighters tackled a blaze on a ship at Harwich International Port. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A fire broke out on a passenger ship carrying 400 people as it prepared to dock at Harwich port.

Firefighters were waiting for the vessel as it arrived at Parkeston Quay at about 5am today (Wednesday January 17), having been called 40 minutes earlier.

A refrigerator lorry had caught fire on a lower deck of the ship and the blaze had spread to several nearby vehicles.

“As the fire was on a lower deck of the ship and in a confined space the area had become smoke logged and was difficult to access.

“Our firefighters worked with the ship's crew and the Port Authority to organise freight to be removed to allow access to tackle the fire.

“Once onboard firefighters began tackling the fire in sections and brought it under control quickly despite difficult conditions.”

– Lee Lucas, Essex Fire Service

The fire was out by 7am and the damaged vehicles were taken off the ship at 10.15am. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Driver killed and two injured in Essex A120 crash

. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A female driver has been killed and two other people - including a teenage girl - have been taken to hospital following a crash in Essex.

Police remain at the scene of the collision on the A120 at Wix, near Harwich.

They were called just after 12.10pm today (Saturday December 16) after a Honda Jazz crashed with a Ford Transit van travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver of the Honda died at the scene. The van driver, a man, was airlifted to Royal London Hospital and his passenger, a teenage girl, was taken to Colchester Hospital.

The road, between Horsley Cross and Primrose Lane, is likely to be closed for several hours.

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Restoration of Electric Palace gets the go-ahead

The Electric Palace, Harwich. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Final works to restore The Electric Palace in Harwich have been given the green light.

The listed building has already undergone an extensive refit and has been removed from English Heritage's buildings at risk register.

Now work to reinstate original features and preserve the building's long term future have been agreed by Tendring District Council.

People smuggler caught with 22 refugees hidden in his lorry

Inside the lorry Credit: Border Force

A people smuggler has admitted trying to bring 22 Afghan refugees through Harwich Port hidden in his lorry.

Border Force officers discovered the 17 adults and five children in a compartment behind washing machines when they stopped the lorry from Holland driven by 32-year-old Tomasz Cierniak in February 2016.

He'll be sentenced for breaching immigration laws at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday.

The lorry had washing machines which masked the people behind Credit: Border Force

"The dangers of cramming this group into a small space behind a wall of heavy goods during a six hour ferry crossing are obvious, but Cierniak was content to put the lives of 22 desperate people at risk. People smuggling is a callous trade and those involved think nothing of treating human beings as commodities. Cierniak thought he could evade justice, but we, along with our law enforcement partners in Europe, never stopped looking."

– Rebecca Webb, from the Immigration Enforcement CFI team

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