Passengers escaped on lifeboats and nobody was killed when a fire broke out on a ferry carrying more than 1,200 people from the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba to Egypt on Thursday, Egyptian officials said.

An official from Egypt's Red Sea ports authority said there was extensive damage to the ferry, which had been destined for the Egyptian port of Nuweiba. It had travelled about 15 nautical miles from Aqaba when the fire erupted.

Thanks be to God, all the passengers on the Pella ferry were saved and reached Nuweiba. There were no dead or injured, Egypt's ruling military said in a statement published on its Facebook page.

It said efforts were underway to bring the fire completely under control.

Egyptian state television said Egyptian naval launches and military aircraft were involved in the rescue effort. The maritime official said the passengers were mainly Egyptian expatriate workers returning home.

The vessel is owned by Arab Bridge Maritime Company (AB Maritime), a joint venture between the governments of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed in Ismailiya and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Peter Graff)