row over North
Sea ferry cabin
arson charges

A MAN accused of starting a fire on a North Sea ferry which sparked a major rescue operation off the Yorkshire coast 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 on December 28.

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

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

It was understood the legal team for Hughes, of Fulwell Road, Sunderland, will claim that 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. A provisional trial date of June 30 has been set.

The fire broke out on the overnight service to Amsterdam in one of the cabins when it was about 30 miles off the Yorkshire coast.

Six people, including a pregnant passenger, were winched off the ferry in darkness by an RAF crew and the ferry had to return to North Shields.