Man accused of ferry fire will use "high seas" defence

King Seaways Ferry Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A man accused of starting a fire on a North Sea ferry which sparked a major rescue operation will argue the court has no jurisdiction in his case.

Boden George Hughes, 26, is charged with arson and affray after a fire broke out on a DFDS service between North Shields in North Tyneside and Amsterdam last year.

Six people from the King Seaways ferry were airlifted to hospital by crews from RAF Leconfield in December.

Mr Hughes appeared before Newcastle Crown Court via a videolink from prison, but did not enter pleas.

A hearing will be held on May 8 where the issue of jurisdiction will be argued, the court agreed.

It was understood the legal team for Hughes, will say the vessel was not British-flagged and was on the "high seas" at the time of the alleged offence, and therefore the court has no jurisdiction.

The prosecution will challenge that argument.