MSC Flaminia Fire

At 10:07 July 14 2012 boxship MSC Flaminia reported that the crew on board had abandoned the vessel, after an explosion and the fire that broke out in one of the cargo holds. Merchant vessels in the area convened to the vessel’s position to provide assistance to MSC Flaminia. The incident took place about 1,000 miles from land mid way between the UK and Canada.

MSC Flaminia on fire (photo taken by the crew of VLCC DS Crown)

24 people, German, Polish and Filipino, were recovered from a lifeboat and a liferaft, four of them had suffered injuries and unfortunately one of them died due to extensive burns on his body. Moreover one person is reported to be missing.

According to reports an explosion took place in a container containing combustible cargo. The initial assumption that calcium hypochlorite was the main cause of the fire accident seems to not be valid since NSB Niederelbe checked all the cargo manifests and didn’t find any calcium hypochlorite at all. Until now the operator of MSC Flaminia has not given any details regarding the cargo within the hold that the fire started.

Firefighting tugs were dispatched by the vessel’s owner NSB Niederelbe Schiffahrtsges. mbH & Co. (MSC charters the ship). According to MSC statements “The extent of the damage to the cargo is still not known, and it is most likely that such an assessment can only be made once the vessel has reached a port of refuge,”.

A team of four salvage specialists that got onboard MSC FLAMINIA was able to reactivate the ship’s own fire fighting system which is now supporting the firefighting operations of the tugboats. Due to damaged cargo and extinguishing water the ship is reported to be listing by 8.5 degrees. The extent of the damage onboard MSC FLAMINIA is considerable. Reports say that cargo holds 4, where the fire originated from, cargo hold 5 and 6 are demolished. According to the salvage specialists cargo hold 7, which is located adjacent to the superstructure, is not on fire. The superstructure itself, the engine room as well as bow and stern – including the steering gear – are all not affected by the fire.

According to NSB MSC Flaminia is being towed today to Europe.

Sources: SAFETY4SEA, www.odin.tc, www.cargolaw.com

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