Smoke

Smoke is seen coming from a Hurtigruten cruise ship docked in Aalesund (Reuters/Scanpix Norway)

A large fire aboard a Norwegian cruise ship claimed two lives on Thursday morning.

The cruise ship, MS Nordlys, was traveling along the popular Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes when the fire broke out in the engine room at 9:20 a.m. local time on Thursday.

The ship was about 230 miles (375 kilometers) from its port of call, Aalesund, when the fire began. More than 100 of the 206 passengers were evacuated into lifeboats before the remaining departed at port.

Nine crew members were taken to the hospital for smoke-related injuries. Two crew members were being treated for serious burns while two others perished in the fire.

Passengers aboard the ship were evacuated smoothly, according to Danielle Passebois-Paya, a French tourist who spoke with the Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

It was a well-organized evacuation. The crew did a really good job. Everything went calm and smoothly. There was no panic, Passebois-Paya said.

Police have sealed off sections of Aalesund due to the smoke from the fire. Aalesund is a popular destination for tourists in Norway, known for its art nouveau architecture. It is often voted the prettiest town in the country.

While the cause of the fire remains unknown, police suspect that an onboard explosion is to blame.

Over six hours after the fire began, firefighters are now in control of it. Still, the ship is taking in water and listing 10 degrees.