At least two die in fire on Norwegian cruise ship

Smoke rising from the Norwegian cruise ship, the Nordlys All the passengers were rescued from the ship

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Two crew members have died in a fire on a cruise ship off the coast of Norway.

At least a dozen people were injured, two seriously, as the blaze forced rescuers to evacuate more than 200 passengers from the ship, the Nordlys.

The ship was sailing close to the port of Aalesund in western Norway when a fire broke out in the engine room.

Police believe there was an explosion, but do not know what caused the blast. Some people were taken hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

Television pictures showed clouds of thick black smoke rising from the ship after it was taken to Aalesund.

The Nordlys, which belongs to the Hurtigruten company, was sailing northwards from Bergen to the Arctic circle when it caught fire.

All 207 passengers were rescued. The ship can carry nearly 700 passengers.

Some of the 55 crew members remained on board to help firefighters battle the blaze.

"The fire is under control now but we have a problem with the ship taking on water so right now they are working on stabilising the vessel," a spokeswoman for the rescue services in southern Norway, Borghild Eldoeen, said.

The nationalities of the passengers were not known, but most of the tourists on Hurtigruten ships are from Norway.

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