Seven people were winched off a North Sea ferry after they breathed in smoke when a fire broke out 30 miles from land, the Coastguard said.
The MS King Seaways had 946 passengers on board and a crew of 127 when a fire broke out in one of the passenger accommodation blocks soon after 10pm last night.
Two RAF helicopters were scrambled to the vessel 30 miles north east of Flamborough Head, near Scarborough.
The fire was brought under control and has been extinguished.
Bev Allen, Watch Manager at Humber Coastguard, said: "We have been in close contact with the MS King Seaways this evening and sent resources to assist in the evacuation of those passengers and crew that were showing signs of smoke inhalation.
"We are now in discussion with the ferry to decide the next best course of action."
RNLI lifeboats from Bridlington and Filey were sent to the scene.
RAF helicopters from Leconfield near Hull and Boulmer, Northumberland, also assisted.
Squadron Leader Dave Webster said it was initially reported that 23 people would need to be winched off having suffered from smoke inhalation.
That figure was later downgraded to six crew members and one passenger.
The ferry had left North Shields, Tyneside, and was heading for Holland.
According to the DFDS Seaways website, the 26-year-old vessel has room for over 1,500 passengers and 600 cars. It was renovated in 2006.
The ferry is now on its way back to the International Ferry Terminal at North Shields, Tyneside, where the damage will be assessed, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has said.
The ferry's journey is being closely monitored by Humber Coastguard.
"The ferry is now returning to port and is due to arrive back in North Shields between 4am and 5am," s pokeswoman Jo Rawlings said.
"All helicopters and life boats involved have been stood down, however Humber Coastguard is in constant contact with the ferry and an RAF helicopter is on stand-by should it need further assistance."
She added that it would be normal procedure for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to survey the ferry for lasting damage.
The six crew members and one passenger who were airlifted to hospital are not believed to be seriously injured.