Thursday, 15 July 2010

Containers still burning a week after fire on Maersk ship began

More than 100 containers are still burning on board the Charlotte Maersk seven days after the blaze began.

Maersk Line said the fire started last Wednesday at around 9pm local time close to Port Klang, Malaysia, and had been brought under control.

A spokesman for the Danish carrier said this morning that at the height of the blaze, 150 containers were burning at temperatures approaching 1,000 degrees Celcius.

He said 130 containers were still burning.

The line said: “The temperatures are very high and it is impossible for firefighters to approach before additional cooling has taken place.

“This is one of the reasons why the fire extinguishing takes time and why it is difficult to estimate when the fire will be extinguished.”

It added: “Maersk Line cannot speculate on when the fire will be extinguished. The priority remains the continued safety of the crew, vessel and cargo, and the company 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 customers’ cargo.”

There are no reported injuries to the 21 crew members from Denmark, India, the Philippines and Ukraine.

Uncofirmed reports suggest the fire started when one of the containers exploded. By Thursday morning, the fire had been restricted to the foredeck of the vessel.

Currently there are four firefighting tug boats and two Malaysian Coast Guard vessels at the scene.

The 8,200teu Charlotte Maersk had left Port Klang and was heading to Salalah, Oman, when the drama began.;jsessionid=53DB62AF206FDF8D54509CD449758F8E.065acf6a61c52eed94766d1ba7da5d95d4ecd58a

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