Container ship fire off British Columbia smolders and no longer spreads

Victoria, BRITISH COLUMBIA, October 24 (Reuters) – A container fire that broke out on a cargo ship carrying mining chemicals off British Columbia on Saturday is smoldering and appears to be under control, officials said on Sunday. the Canadian Coast Guard.

Sixteen crew members were evacuated from the MV Zim Kingston on Saturday, while five remained on board to fight the blaze.

The ship is anchored several kilometers off the south coast of Vancouver Island. Islanders are not at risk, officials said, and the transit of commercial vessels to the ports of Vancouver and Seattle is not impeded.

The Commander of the Canadian Coast Guard, JJ Brickett, said the company said the blaze had gone out. Tugs had sprayed water around the area of ​​the blaze to keep it from spreading, and a helicopter overflight on Sunday gathered evidence that it worked.

“We can’t see any burning or charring from these adjacent containers, that’s a really good sign,” Brickett said. “The fire is smoldering as you might expect, and we continue to cool on either side.”

The Coast Guard is asking all ships to stay at least two nautical miles, and the Department of Transportation has banned all planes, including drones, from flying within two nautical miles or less than 2,000 feet above the ship.

Smoke rises from the container ship Zim Kingston, burning from an onboard fire, off Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2021. Photo taken on October 23, 2021. Canadian Coast Guard / Document via REUTERS

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Earlier Sunday, Danaos Shipping Co, the company that operates the container ship, said in a statement that no injuries had been reported.

The blaze “appears to have been brought under control” and a rescue and fire extinguishing agency has been set up to ensure the safe return of the ship’s crew, Danaos said.

The incident comes as more bad weather is expected to hit the region on Sunday and amid a global traffic jam that has delayed deliveries around the world.

The ship is expected to weather the storm from its anchor, but tugs are standing by and watching in case the ship moves, Brickett said.

The Canadian Coast Guard said it was working with its U.S. counterpart to track 40 containers that fell overboard when Zim Kingston encountered bad weather on Friday, saying they posed a significant risk to sailors.

The coast guard is still tracking down these containers, which must be recovered by the rescue company hired by the shipowners. At the moment, none of them appear to be drifting ashore, Brickett said.

“Mariners are advised to stay clear of the area. Currently there is no risk to the safety of people ashore, but the situation will continue to be monitored,” the coast guard said on Saturday. , when video obtained by Reuters showed a fire cascading from the ship’s deck into the water.

Reporting by Steve Scherer, Bhargav Acharya, Chris Helgren and Nur-Azna Sanusi; Additional reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bangalore; Editing by Edwina Gibbs, Frances Kerry, Mark Porter and Diane Craft

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