Eighty one people rescued from burning ship near the Isles of Scilly

Scores of passengers have been evacuated onto lifeboats from the ship Athena, which is currently on fire in the Atlantic

The fishing ship Athena is currently on fire in the Atlantic, although authorities have said that the fire is now under control.

The Athena was carrying 111 people when it caught fire 230 miles south-west of the Isles of Scilly just after 6am this morning.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says that so far 81 “non-essential personnel” have been rescued on lifeboats while a further 30 people have stayed on board to try to bring the fire under control.

The huge air and sea rescue operation – which includes the use of a Falcon 50 fixed wing aircraft, which was scrambled from a French airfield, and a Royal Navy helicopter from RNAS Culdrose – is being coordinated by Falmouth Coastguard.

A spokesperson for the MCA said, “Falmouth Coastguard relayed the mayday signal into the area and five ships responded to the emergency call.

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“The nearest, the Vega, a container ship, is now on scene and attempting to take on board those crew who abandoned to the liferafts.”