Sunday, 6 January 2019

Container ship YANTIAN EXPRESS fire UPDATE all crew evacuated

Jan 6 evening UPDATE: On Jan 6 the rest of crew were transferred from YANTIAN EXPRESS to salvage tug SMIT NICOBAR. All 23 crew are now on board of SMIT NICOBAR, which is continuing firefighting in improved weather conditions, but weather is to deteriorate soon, said US Coast Guard.

Tug MAERSK MOBILISER (IMO 9765471) left St. John’s, to tow YANTIAN EXPRESS to Halifax. It’s expected to arrive on site in the evening Jan 6.
Evacuation of all crew in container ships major fires became something of a rule – many containers with dangerous cargo, explosive or poisonous, is the main cause.
Full chronology:

Jan 6 UPDATE: On Jan 5 11 out of 23 crew were transferred from YANTIAN EXPRESS to salvage tug SMIT NICOBAR. 
Both ships moved generally, in southern direction, most probably in an attempt to find best weather conditions, permitting more or less safe firefighting.
Jan 5 UPDATE: The ship is moving in the same direction in keep with western wind, tug SMIT NICOBAR (IMO 9322592) already approached YANTIAN EXPRESS. No other information available at the moment – we don’t yet have information with regards to:
Extent of fire – how many containers and rows are on fire;
How many containers contain dangerous goods;
How dangerous it is for the crew and is there need for evacuation, at least partial.
Jan 4: Photo was sent to MB by crew’s member – apparently taken from superstructure, most probably bridge, of containers on fire, which are located in fore area. Flames and thick smoke are directed fore, just like it should be with the ship bringing wind and sea to the aft.

Fire erupted in one of the containers on board of container ship YANTIAN EXPRESS at around 0500 UTC Jan 3 NE of Bermuda in vicinity 35 48N 50 03W, and spread to other containers. The ship is en route from NE Asia to Halifax Canada via Singapore, Colombo. It was already known about fire on Jan 3, but confirmed only on Jan 4. The ship reduced speed and changed course in an attempt to mitigate wind force, assisting crew firefighting. At 1300 UTC Jan 4 the ship was moving in NE direction at some 7 knots speed, apparently continuing firefighting. No other information available at the moment.
The weather is stormy, with W wind up to 20 ms, so probably Master is trying to direct flames and smoke in opposite from superstructure direction.
Container ship YANTIAN EXPRESS, IMO 9229831, dwt 100003, capacity 7506 TEU, built 2002, flag Germany, operator Hapag Lloyd, Hamburg.
Full chronology:

My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.

Maritime and Crimean Shipping News

Container fire on the Yantian Express: Crew successfully evacuated. Our complete crew is unharmed and was safely transferred to the salvage tug "Smit Nicobar":

Crew being moved off container ship on fire headed for Halifax

Tug from St. John's is heading toward Yantian Express with plans to tow ship to Halifax

The Yantian Express at Halifax's Fairview Cove container terminal in 2015. (Mac Mackay/Shipfax)
The 23-person crew of a large Nova Scotia-bound container ship bound for Halifax has been moved off the vessel due to a fire that has been burning since Thursday.
The international shipping company Hapag-Lloyd, which owns the Yantian Express, currently about 1,500 kilometres southeast of Halifax, said the fire started inside a container on the forward deck and then spread to several other containers.
"The fire has not been successfully contained yet and has significantly increased in intensity at times," the company said in a statement. It also said it's still unclear how much damage the fire has caused. 
On Sunday, 12 members of  the Yantian Express crew disembarked onto the Smit Nicobar, an offshore supply tug from Belgium, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup. 
"It's simply because the fire is continuing. They have safety concerns just to go ahead and evacuate the crews. However, there have been no reports of any injuries," he said. 
Eleven of the crew members were already moved to the Smit Nicobar on Saturday. The tug's crew is now in the process of fighting the fire on the Yantian Express, with the aid of improved weather conditions, Canup said. 
The window for favourable conditions is expected to be short, with the potential that poor weather could return later Sunday, he said. High winds and swells hampered firefighting efforts Friday and Saturday
Meanwhile, Canup said another tug, the Maersk Mobiliser, is en route from St. John's to tow the 320-metre ship to Halifax. It's expected to arrive Sunday evening. He said it's still unclear when the ship would arrive in Nova Scotia.
Eight officers and 15 seafarers were aboard the ship, which was built in 2002 and is capable of carrying 7,510 standard 20-foot containers. It was travelling from Colombo, Sri Lanka, via the Suez Canal. 
A cargo ship from the Netherlands, the MV Happy Ranger, was on scene Friday to offer assistance, but left after the Smit Nicobar arrived Friday night.
Hapag-Lloyd and Coast Guard officials both say they're monitoring the situation closely. 

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