Fire hit containership Yantian Express to be towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia

The fire hit Hapag-Lloyd containership Yantian Express is to be towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Firefighting efforts from the tug Smit Nicobar continue on the vessel which is in the Atlantic 800 nm off the coast of Nova Scotia.

According to the United States Coastguard (USCG) a second tug the Maersk Mobiliser is 80 nm from the Yantian Express and on arrival plans to tow the vessel to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Over the weekend the crew of the containership were successfully evacuated to the Smit Nicobar as the fire onboard the Yanian Express intensified.

The fire broke out on the vessel on 3 January while it was sailing from Colombo to Halifax, Canada. The German container line said the fire started in one container on deck and spread to other containers.

Read more: Crew safe as fire hits containership Yantian Express

"We’ve been monitoring the situation to provide as much assistance as possible and keeping in open communication" said USCG Chief Petty Officer Ryan Langley, operations unit watchstander at the Fifth District command centre. "It is through open and regular communication that the safety of the crew has been seen to and the response remains organized." 

The latest containership fire highlights issue of fires on boxships and the difficulties in extinguishing them.

Last year the fire on the Maersk Honam left five crew dead and the company has since developed new guidelines for the stowage of dangerous cargoes across all 750 vessels in its fleet.

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Read more about the Maersk Honam and container fires:

Maersk Honam joins a growing list of horrific containership fires

Fire down below

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The final day of 2018 also saw a fire on board the Japanese car carrier Sincerity Ace in the Pacific forcing the crew to evacuate leaving one missing and four feared dead after they were unable to bring the blaze under control.

USCG Photos and Video - Sincerity Ace fire and rescue operation

Posted 08 January 2019

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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