Sinking cargo ship carrying more than 3,700 cars is still burning at sea two days after fire ’caused by electric car’ broke out – killing one crew member
- Coastguard said today fire ‘is still raging’ but both fire and smoke are decreasing
A sinking cargo ship carrying more than 3,700 cars is still burning at sea two days after a fire – which was allegedly caused by an electric car – broke out and killed one crew member.
Salvage crews dealing with the ship off the Dutch coast have boarded the vessel for the first time as heat, flames and smoke eased.
‘In the course of the morning, after measurements by the recovery companies, it turned out that the temperature on board the Fremantle Highway had dropped sharply,’ the Netherlands’ coastguard said.
Salvage workers boarded the ship on which the fire ‘is still raging but decreasing’, while the smoke was also decreasing.
The workers established ‘a new more robust towing connection’, the agency added. ‘This makes it easier to move the ship and keep it under control.’
Salvage crews dealing with the ship off the Dutch coast have boarded the vessel for the first time as heat, flames and smoke eased
The fire ‘is still raging but decreasing’, while the smoke was also decreasing, the coastguard said today
Government officials are now ‘looking at various scenarios to determine the next steps’, the coastguard said.
One crew member died and others were injured after the blaze started.
The entire crew was evacuated from the ship in the early hours of Wednesday, with some leaping into the sea and being picked up by a lifeboat.
The cause of the fire has not been established.
The Fremantle Highway was 14 miles north of the island of Terschelling on Friday afternoon, close to busy North Sea shipping lanes and an internationally renowned migratory bird habitat.
K Line, the company that chartered the ship, said on Friday that it was carrying far more electric vehicles than initially reported by the coastguard.
Company spokesman Pat Adamson said the ship was carrying a total of 3,783 new vehicles, including 498 electric vehicles.
The coastguard, citing an early freight list, had said it was carrying 2,857 cars, including 25 electric cars.
The US National Transportation Safety Board has warned about the possible dangers of electric vehicle battery fires, a hazard that stems from thermal runaway, a chemical reaction that causes uncontrolled battery temperature and pressure increases.
Smoke was seen from a freight ship in the North Sea, about 17 miles north of the Dutch island of Ameland, on Wednesday afternoon
Ships were pictured alongside the freighter hosing down its sides in an attempt to cool them
At least one crew member died and several others were injured after the fire on the car carrier ship off the Dutch coast early Wednesday, the coastguard said
The burning vessel was close to the shallow Wadden Sea, a World Heritage-listed area that is considered one of the world’s most significant habitats for migratory birds.
It is also close to the Netherlands’ border with Germany, whose environment minister, Steffi Lemke, said on Thursday that if the ship were to sink, it ‘could turn into an environmental catastrophe of unknown proportions’.
And earlier this month, two firefighters died in the US after getting trapped while battling a huge blaze of a cargo ship carrying 5,000 cars to Port Newark.
Responding to the initial blaze, firefighters found five to seven vehicles already on fire when they reached the 10th floor of the cargo ship on July 5.
The blaze quickly extended to the 11th and 12th floors, and as firefighters were pushed back by the intense heat, two of them were lost.