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 Thursday, Egyptian officials said.

An official from Egypt's Red Sea ports authority said the ferry sank after the fire had caused extensive damage.

The vessel had been heading for the Egyptian port of Nuweiba. It had travelled about 15 nautical miles from Aqaba when the fire took hold.

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

The army said passengers were brought to Nuweiba but the Egyptian official said they were taken to Aqaba. The official said there were six injured, most only lightly.

Egyptian state television said Egyptian naval launches and military aircraft were involved in the rescue. 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 and Robert Woodward)