A fire broke out in one container on the deck of the Yantian Express on Jan. 3 and spread to additional containers. The 7,510-TEU ship was en route from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Halifax, Nova Scotia via the Suez Canal. All 23 crew members were evacuated to the salvage tug Smit Nicobar, which arrived the day after the fire erupted, and no injuries were reported.
“Efforts to extinguish the fire have made continuous progress under the direction of the salvage company Smit and in cooperation with the Hapag-Lloyd crew on the scene as well as Hapag-Lloyd’s emergency response team in Hamburg. These combined efforts have allowed the fire to be largely contained and brought under control,” Hapag-Lloyd said in a press release Thursday,
The Yantian Express is being towed at a slow speed by the tug Maersk Mobiliser and was still about 800 nautical miles off the coast of Canada Thursday morning, Hapag-Lloyd said.
An additional ocean-going tug is on its way to the Yantian Express and is expected to begin assisting the operation on Sunday.
In a notice to customers posted on its website Thursday, Hapag-Lloyd said "Based on the currently available information, we have to assume that all cargo in Bay 12 on deck and forward is directly affected by the fire, also all cargo in Hold 1 (Bay 1 to 9). Further, we have to expect that all cargo in Hold 2 (Bay 11 to 17) is affected by fire, smoke and / or damage caused by firefighting water. Damage caused by smoke, heat and / or firefighting water in adjacent areas is possible."
"All Reefers in Bay 1 to 24 are without power and switched off. All other Bays with Reefers are continuously supplied with power and in operation."
"As soon as the full extent of such damages can be accurately determined, we will promptly revert with further details. We fully understand that even at this point you would like to have further clarification on your shipment(s) onboard. Please appreciate that at this moment we are not in a position to provide any more specific information."