Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

Two of the burning containers contain hazardous material identified as potassium amyl xanthate

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A tugboat spent the night battling a container fire that broke out on a cargo ship carrying mining chemicals off British Columbia on Saturday, the Canadian Coast Guard said Sunday, adding it would continue to monitor the situation.

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Sixteen crew members were evacuated from MV Zim Kingston on Saturday, while five remained on board to fight the fire.

“Overnight, the tugboat Seaspan Raven has cooled the hull of the M / V #ZimKingston by spraying the hull with cold water,” the Coast Guard said on Twitter. “Due to the chemicals on board the container ship, it is not possible to apply water directly to the fire.”

Pictures taken by Reuters on Sunday showed two tugboats spraying water against the ship.

The Coast Guard warned that there was an emergency zone around the ship that urged all ships to stay at least two nautical miles away, and the Department of Transportation restricted all aircraft, including drones, from flying within two nautical miles or less than 2,000 feet above the ship.

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Earlier Sunday, Danaos Shipping Co., the company that manages the container ship, said in a statement that no damage has been reported.

The fire “appears to have been extinguished,” and a salvage and firefighting agency was brought in to ensure the safe return of the vessel’s crew, Danaos said.

The accident comes as worse weather is expected to hit the area on Sunday and amid a global traffic jam that has held deliveries around the world.

On Saturday, the Canadian Coast Guard said the ship itself was not on fire and that only 10 containers burned.

The Canadian Coast Guard said it has been working with its U.S. counterpart to track down 40 containers that had previously fallen overboard when Zim Kingston encountered bad weather, saying they posed a significant risk to seafarers.

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The company did not immediately respond when asked if the lost containers were linked to the fire.

“Seafarers are advised to stay out of the area. At the moment there is no safety risk for people on land, but the situation will continue to be monitored, “said the Coast Guard on Saturday, when video obtained by Reuters showed fire cascades down from the ship’s deck into the water.

“It is extremely worrying. The ship and containers are very close to Victoria, BC, and are expected to hit a major storm tonight. We’re concerned that this could be another environmental disaster, ”said David Boudinot, President of Surfrider Foundation Canada, an environmental organization.

Fire cascades down from the deck of the container ship ZIM Kingston off the waters of Victoria, BC
Fire cascades down from the deck of the container ship ZIM Kingston off the waters of Victoria, BC Photo by SURFRIDER FOUNDATION CANADA /Reuters

Two of the burning containers contain hazardous material identified as potassium amyl xanthate.

Canadian Coast Guard spokeswoman Michelle Imbeau says an Incident Command Post led by the Coast Guard on behalf of the federal and BC governments as well as representatives of First Nations is coordinating a response from several agencies to the incident.

She says the Command Post is also working with the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor 40 containers that fell overboard from Zim Kingston in choppy waters Friday, and is currently floating about 12 miles off the west coast of Vancouver Island, near Bamfield, BC

Additional reporting from The Canadian Press

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