Sunderland ship fire was training exercise

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REPORTS of a ship on fire off Sunderland turned out to be a merchant vessel on a fire training exercise.

Volunteer crews from Sunderland RNLI were diverted from their own training session, following a 999 call at 11.37am on Sunday.

The caller had spotted a boat on fire off Ryhope, however, it was later identified as a merchant ship undertaking a fire training exercise 10 miles east of Seaham.

The lifeboats were stood down and cleared to return to the station at 12.11pm.