Yantian Express crew evacuated from burning containership, blaze intensifies

The crew of the containership Yantian Express have been successfully evacuated as the fire in containers on its deck “significantly” increases in intensity.

The crew of the 7,510 teu Yantian Express were successfully evacuated to the tug Smit Nicobar on 5 and 6 January Hapag-Lloyd said in a statement. The tug was firefighting support to the crew as efforts continue to extinguish the blaze that started in one container and then spread to other boxes.

Read the latest update: Fire hit containership Yantian Express to be towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia

“Due to bad weather conditions, the fire has not been successfully contained yet and has significantly increased in intensity at times,” the container line said.  “For this reason, a decision was made to evacuate the crew.”

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Hapag-Lloyd said it was monitoring further developments on the vessels which is approximately 800 nm off the coast of Canada (Nova Scotia) and that firefighting efforts were ongoing.

“At this time, it is not possible to make a precise estimate of any damage to Yantian Express or its cargo. Hapag-Lloyd is in close cooperation with all relevant authorities,” the company said.

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 07 January 2019

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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