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Firefighters tackling blaze in 150 boxes onboard Charlotte Maersk

Port Klang: Maersk says the blaze onboard the boxship Charlotte Maersk remains contained six days after it started, but fire in 150 containers will have to be extinguished individually. "The fire onboard the Charlotte Maersk continues to appear contained and under control," a spokesperson for Maersk said. A total of eight vessels are on standby or involved in the firefighting operations and a firefighter team leader and seven experts are also onboard the vessel, along with a salvage master and a chemist. The process of individually extinguishing the fire in 150 containers is now under way, described by the company as "surgical extinguishing" . "The fire extinguishing operation progresses so that first cooling of four -six hours of one or more containers in an specific area takes place. Then a thermal camera is used to asses the temperature, and if it is possible to enter the area surgical container, extinguishing takes place," the spokesperson said. "The temperatures are very high, some places around 1,000 degrees celsius. In the latter case, it is impossible for fire fighters to approach before additional cooling has taken place." So far fire in 13 containers has been extinguished. Maersk said it was difficult to estimate when the fire will be put out completely. The crew of 21 was described as fine, but "naturally exhausted" from the firefighting. "We will take the time needed to ensure a successful resolution of the situation on board Charlotte Maersk. Once it will be safe to discharge containers, we will do so ensuring a minimum of delay to our customers' cargo," the spokeperson said. The fire started at 2100hrs on July 7 after the 8,194 teu vessel left Port Klang bound for Oman [12/07/10]

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