Charlotte Maersk firefighting continues
Maersk Line said Monday morning the fire on board the containership Maersk Charlotte off Port Klang in Malaysia appears “contained and under control.”
The carrier said it is proceeding to open individual containers and extinguish any fire inside.
“Surgical container extinguishing is progressing,” the company said. “The initial assessment estimates that around 150 containers have to be opened and surgically (i.e. one container at a time) extinguished. Thirteen containers have been extinguished. The fire extinguishing operation progresses so that first cooling of four to six hours of one or more containers in an specific area takes place. Then a thermal camera is used to assess the temperature, and if it is possible to enter the area surgical container extinguishing takes place.”
“The temperatures are very high, some places round 1,000 degrees Celsius. In the latter case, it is impossible for fire fighters to approach before additional cooling has taken place. This is also one of the reasons why the fire extinguishing takes time and why it is difficult to estimate when the fire will be extinguished,” the company added.
Last Friday, at 9 p.m. local time in Malaysia, the captain on board Charlotte Maersk reported a fire on the foredeck of the vessel. The vessel immediately initiated firefighting procedures.
The company said the ship’s 21-member crew is being assisted by a salvage master, a team of eight firefighting experts, four tugs with firefighting capabilities, two Malaysian coast guard vessels, a chemist and other experts with special tools and equipment.
“We cannot speculate on when the fire will be extinguished,” Maersk said. “Our priority remains the continued safety of the crew, vessel and cargo, and we will take the time needed to ensure a successful resolution of the situation on board Charlotte Maersk. Once it will be safe to discharge containers, we will do so ensuring a minimum of delay to our customers cargo.”