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Fire breaks out aboard Hapag-Lloyd box ship

The 7,510-TEU Yantian Express was en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia when the blaze erupted.

   (Updated at 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday) The crew of the Hapag-Lloyd containership Yantian Express has been evacuated. All 23 members are safe and unharmed.
   Hapag-Lloyd said Thursday a fire broke out in one container on the deck of the ship and spread to additional containers.
   Due to bad weather conditions, the fire has not been successfully contained yet and has significantly increased in intensity at times. Crew members were evacuated to the salvage tug Smit Nicobar, which arrived Friday to help fight the fire, but the fire has not been extinguished yet.
   Further developments of the situation on the Yantian Express are being monitored closely, and the firefighting efforts with the salvage tug are ongoing, said Hapag-Lloyd on Sunday.
   U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup said another tug, Maersk Mobilizer, has been dispatched to the ship and is expected to tow it to port. The ship is located about 800 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia.

   A fire broke out Thursday aboard the Yantian Express, a 7,510-TEU containership operated by Hapag-Lloyd.
   The fire started in one container on the vessel’s deck and then spread to additional containers when the vessel was en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia in eastern Canada from Colombo, Sri Lanka via the Suez Canal. The vessel is about 650 nautical miles off the coast of Canada, Hapag-Lloyd said in a press release Friday.
   The vessel’s crew of eight officers and 15 seafarers were unharmed.
   “Efforts to extinguish the fire in the containers were launched immediately but have had to be suspended for the time being due to a significant deterioration of weather conditions,” Hapag-Lloyd’s press release said.
   When asked about the cause of the fire, what was in the containers that caught fire or if there was any update on the vessel’s location or where it is now headed, a Hapag-Lloyd spokesperson told American Shipper around 10:30 a.m. Eastern time Friday that it was still too early to provide that information.
   The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Saturday reported a firefighting tugboat arrived Friday evening to help extinguish the fire, but weather conditions were still too poor for the crew to carry out its work.”
   The Yantian Express is deployed on THE Alliance’s EC5 service. THE Alliance consists of Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming and the Ocean Network Express (ONE).
   BlueWater Reporting shows this loop deploys 11 vessels with an average vessel size of 6,568 TEUs and has a rotation of Laem Chabang, Cai Mep, Singapore, Colombo, Halifax, New York, Savannah, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Halifax, Dubai, Singapore and Laem Chabang. ONE provides five of the vessels, while Yang Ming provides four of the vessels and Hapag-Lloyd provides two of the vessels.
   “It is still too early to make a precise estimate of any damage to the vessel or its cargo,” Hapag-Lloyd’s press release said, adding that it “is closely cooperating with all relevant authorities.”