Thursday, July 8, 2010

Container ship catches fire off Port Klang

An Oman-bound container ship, MV Charlotte Mearsk, carrying 1,000 containers and 21 crew members, caught fire some 111km off Port Klang Wednesday night.

District maritime enforcement chief Maritime Capt Mohd Amir Hamzah said the fire broke out in the ship's cargo area around 10.10pm.

"All the crew are safe," he told a news conference here Thursday.

He said that the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) dispatched its KM Danga vessel and a speedboat to the scene upon receiving information on the incident.

"Although we were told that the crew were putting out the fire, and would proceed with their journey, we went to the scene nonethless," he said.

This picture shows a fire onboard the Charlotte Maersk, which is currently in the Straits of Malacca. The fire is said to have started about 9.30pm on Wednesday, after the ship had left Port Klang for Oman. The Malaysian authorities have sent fire fighting vessels to help put out the blaze. There are no reports of any injuries to the ship’s crew.

Mohd Amir said that when the MMEA team arrived around 4am Thursday, the containers were still on fire.

A Bombardier helicopter and another ship, KM Marlin, were called in to help control the fire, he added.

"We have yet to ascertain the cause of the fire and the items in the containers," he said, adding that the MMEA was also identifying the ship's owner.

The operation to put out the fire was still underway in the afternoon.

Source: The Star

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