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June 14, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Fire reported on ship carrying 150 passengers in Puget Sound

The Victoria Clipper was returning to Seattle from a whale-watching expedition to Friday Harbor when the vessel caught fire, which forced it to dock at Shilshole Marina in Ballard. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

A small engine fire broke out on a ferry in Puget Sound on Friday evening, scaring but not injuring the 156 people aboard.

The Victoria Clipper was returning from a whale-watching day trip to Friday Harbor when the fire began at about 7 p.m., passengers said.

The crew sealed off the engine compartment to prevent any chance of the fire spreading.

“They had it all under control,” said passenger Diane Hansen.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, said Kyle Moore, a spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department.

Although the ship was due to return to where it originated in downtown Seattle, the fire forced it to dock at Ballard’s Shilshole Marina at around 8 p.m.

Passengers were evacuated there while dozens of Seattle firefighters responded to the ship.

Rita Pagada, who is visiting from Florida, said she was relieved to be back on shore.

Another reason to be happy:  Pagada said she’d seen a whale earlier in the day, a male orca.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Ballard, fire, ship

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