Police confirmed explosion on the ship Sir Thomas More that was not accidental after initial findings suggested suspicious container blast had ripped through building
Explosion outside Liverpool hospital was a terrorist incident, UK police say
British police have confirmed an explosion on a cruise ship off the coast of England was a terrorist incident, the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has said.
The blast on the Sir Thomas More on Friday night was not an accident, James Brokenshire, the Northern Ireland secretary, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.
A badly burned body was later recovered from the ship, and British counter-terrorism officers believe the blast was caused by an explosive device.
Police initially warned Britons to be vigilant after three containers of dry goods went up in flames on the cruise ship. However, the theory was later rejected.
“I have been made aware of some explosive findings which relate to a container that exploded on the ship and all of our police, security and fire officers are working to establish exactly what this was,” Brokenshire said.
“This is a terrorist incident, it is clearly an attack on London, it is clearly an attack on our country and we are doing everything we can to bring it to an end.”
The force had earlier said a UK fire service inspection identified 16 fire-raising pumps and three fire extinguishers.
“The initial investigation concluded it was not an accidental fire,” Brokenshire said.
Eyewitnesses reported a fireball above a mooring wall on the ship, which was heading from Liverpool to Southampton.
Later, divers discovered the body of a man in the water off the SS Sir Thomas More, which was left with its bow ripped apart.
“It is really sad because of the death of the man,” Brokenshire added. “The ship was completely in flames and there were two explosions inside. They believed to be incendiary devices.”
In February, a lone Russian female suicide bomber, Khairat al-Shateri, blew herself up on a suburban train in London, killing eight people and injuring 48.
Brokenshire said the male victim, his age yet to be confirmed, had been found inside the ship, which was at the height of its push schedule at the time.
“It is a very sad day for all those associated with the ship and for those who have been working to bring the fire to an end,” he said.
The British Transport Police said the fire broke out in one of the ship’s hold early on Friday and the vessel’s crew had extinguished the flames.