Crews cool burning container ship in B.C. overnight, but chemical cargo prevented flames from directly extinguishing

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A container fire aboard a freighter off Victoria continued to burn on Sunday, after response vessels spent the night cooling the hull of the ship itself with water.

But responders were unable to extinguish the flames directly because of the chemicals in the burning cargo of the MV Zim Kingston, the Canadian Coast Guard said Sunday morning.

“Due to the nature of the chemicals on board the container ship, applying water directly to the fire is not an option,” the federal agency said. said in a tweet just after 9:00 a.m. PT on Sunday.

The company that manages the ship, Cyprus-based Danaos Shipping, told CBC News that the blaze “appears to have been brought under control.”

“Danaos has tasked a rescue and fire extinguisher agency to come aboard to ensure that conditions are suitable for the safe return of the ship’s crew,” the company said on Sunday in a statement. communicated.

CBC News has contacted the Canadian Coast Guard for comment on Danaos Shipping’s statement.

In a tweet on Sunday, he said the ship’s fire was still active but crews were seeing smoke reduction.

Two of the burning containers on the ship’s deck contained hazardous materials identified as potassium amylxanthate, said the Coast Guard, which is listed as a “reactive flammable material” by the Canadian Materials Information System. hazardous used at work.

On Sunday, Transport Canada banned drones and planes flying over the scene, at the request of the Coast Guard.

Storm forecast for the region

A strong storm is forecast for the region on Sunday, including high winds. In a statement, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, which operates the 13-year-old vessel, said on Friday it “had encountered very difficult weather conditions.”

“The ship reported dozens of containers that fell overboard,” the company said, after which several containers caught fire.

“Most of the crew members were evacuated from the ship, and a few remained on board to assist with the firefighting efforts. All crew members are declared safe… Our main concern is safety. crew safety and prevention of environmental impact. “

The incident began on Saturday when U.S. officials reported about 40 containers adrift in the ocean off Washington state. They had fallen overboard the ship.

WATCH | Crew evacuated from ship after fire:

Crew members evacuated from freighter off British Columbia coast after fire

The Canadian Coast Guard said it received a report on Saturday of a fire at two damaged containers aboard the freighter MV Zim Kingston near Victoria. The ship was bound for Vancouver. 2:38

The Canadian Coast Guard said there was a significant risk to sailors but not to people ashore as a fire was burning.

He noted that the ship itself was not on fire, but said an emergency zone had been set up for one nautical mile around the Zim Kingston. The emergency zone was extended to two nautical miles on Sunday, the coast guard said on Twitter.

16 crew removed from ship, officials say

The Victoria Joint Rescue and Coordination Center said 16 crew members were safely removed from the ship, while five others, including the captain, remained on board at their own request.

The vessel MV Zim Kingston is shown with several containers on fire on Sunday off Victoria. (Canadian Coast Guard / Twitter)

Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson Michelle Imbeau said a Coast Guard-led incident command post on behalf of the federal and British Columbia governments, as well as First Nations representatives, was coordinating a multi-agency response to the incident.

She said the command post was also working with the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor 40 containers that fell overboard the Zim Kingston in rough waters on Friday and were floating about 12 nautical miles off the west coast of the Vancouver Island, near Bamfield, British Columbia.

He said a Hazmat team from Vancouver was mobilizing and the owner of the Zim Kingston had contracted with the US group Resolve Marine Group for rescue operations, including firefighting and container recovery.

Resolve Marine had mobilized two ships that were to be on site Sunday.

The Canadian Coast Guard, meanwhile, said it was working through the Emergency Management BC network to disseminate public safety information as needed.


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