WASHINGTON, Oct 24, 2021 (AFP) – The Coast Guard announced on Sunday that it had noted “a reduction” in the flames on a Cypriot freighter, whose fire forced the evacuation of 16 crew members and has been emitting gases since Saturday. poisonous off the coasts of Canada and the United States in the Pacific.
“Firefighting is ongoing at Zim Kingston, but we have seen a reduction in fires and smoke,” the organization said on Twitter.
The ship’s owner, the Cypriot company Danaos, told AFP that “the fire seems under control”, allowing accidentologists to “get on board to ensure that the conditions are met to allow the return of the crew”.
While the situation does not appear to present any risks ashore, such as an oil or toxic spill, “gusty wind sources are expected in the area” Sunday evening and “crews will be monitoring air quality both in the water than on the coast,” he told the Canadian Coast Guard.
Winds of 70 km/h are expected in the Victoria region of British Columbia, near where the freighter is moored. The ship is located in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which marks the maritime border between Canada and the United States, according to the shipowner.
The ship was in these border waters on Friday evening “waiting to gain access to the Port of Vancouver, when an extreme weather event tipped the boat, which caused containers to fall overboard”, summarized the Cypriot shipowner.
After the incident, two damaged containers caught fire on Saturday, according to the Danaos company, while the Canadian Coast Guard indicated on Sunday morning that “a fire broke out in 10 containers”.
The captain of the ship then made the decision to evacuate and 16 people were rescued, according to the coast guard. The freighter’s captain “and key personnel remained on board to oversee firefighting,” Danaos added.
“Due to the nature of the chemicals on board the cargo ship, applying water directly to the fire is not an option,” the Canadian Coast Guard said on Twitter.
However, a tug dispatched to the scene of the fire, the Seaspan Raven, “cooled the hull of the Zim Kingston by spraying it with cold water” in the early hours of Saturday to Sunday, Canadian authorities said.
According to public television Radio-Canada, 40 containers have been lost in the Pacific Ocean and the Canadian Coast Guard and its American counterpart are working together in the region to find them.
The Coast Guard has established a two nautical mile “emergency zone” which is off limits to navigation around the vessel.
The freighter was carrying more than 52 tons of chemicals, according to Radio-Canada, citing the coast guard.
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