A ferry has been evacuated at a French port after an explosion was heard as passengers were boarding.

The incident has taken place in Joliette, in Marseille, this morning on the 9am service to Sardinia.

Reports in France say that 77 passengers and crew were forced to flee the Corsica ferry after the explosion was heard.

France has drafted in heavily armed soldiers and police to its ports in fear of ISIS jihadis boarding ferries.


The specialist forces have been called upon following intelligence warnings that ferries could be at risk.

A bomb squad and dog unit has arrived at Joliette and they are investigating the cause of the explosion.

A senior police officer told local media: "The boat does not leak, so we do not understand what happened. It is not known if the explosion was held on the ship."

The heightened risk of a terrorist attack across the Channel comes after the Bastille Day lorry attack in Nice, which killed 84 people and the execution of a priest in a Normandy church.

The French president Francois Hollande said he would increase armed security at transport hubs and crowded areas, but the appearance of soldiers at Calais is said to have shocked British authorities.