A passenger ferry left port in the evening with a full load of trailers and trucks. After about an hour the watch noticed thick smoke on the weather deck, in the covered area at the fore (sometimes called the garage). The fire alarm sounded at the same time. Despite a rapid response from the crew, after as little as 15 minutes the decision was made to abandon ship since the fire had spread very quickly. The ship burned for several weeks before the fire could at last be extinguished. The damage was very extensive. One reason for the fire spreading so quickly was that a fire door between the car deck and the cabins was open and lashed in that position. In addition, the drencher pump (a powerful water sprinkler) could not be operated on the car deck, and a pipe supplying the sprinkler in the cabin section burst. While the ship’s engineer was working to bypass the broken pipe, the fire spread rapidly. It was too late to operate the drencher pump. It was later apparent that the reason for the drencher pump not working was a switch that was in the wrong position after service work had been carried out earlier.