All crew members have been reported safe and were rescued by a passing bulk carrier.
The Philippine Coast Guard says a “K” Line vehicle carrier bound from Singapore to the Philippine port of Batangas caught fire in the South China Sea on Saturday.
MV Diamond Highway caught fire near Reed Bank west of Nalaut Island. Nalaut Island is about 300 kilometers southwest of Manila, while Batangas is about 100 kilometers south of the Philippine capital.
A spokesman for the Philippine Coast Guard told Manila Times that the fire was still burning on Monday afternoon but that all 25 crew members had been rescued and were safe. It said the rescue was made by the bulk carrier Canupos Leader, which was en route to Thailand.
The Philippine Coast Guard said a patrol boat BRP Cabra, had arrived at the scene and begun firefighting, and was “still lying next to the distressed vessel for further monitoring of its status.”
ClassNK said Diamond Highway, formerly known as Utopia Ace, was built in 2004 is capable of carrying about 6,354 cars.
The Diamond Highway fire is the latest in a string of major ship fires in recent months. On New Year’s Eve, the 650-foot car carrier Sincerity Ace caught fire. The crew abandoned ship, but only 16 crew members were rescued and five died. Autoweek reported that the ship contained 3,500 cars, most of which are Nissans.
There was a deadly fire and series of explosions on a tanker off of Hong Kong in January. The month also saw fires on board the containerships Yantian Express and APL Vancouver. Grimaldi Group has had two ships catch fire this year — the Grande America, which sank in mid-March in the Bay of Biscay after a fire forced those on board to abandon ship, and the Grande Europa, which suffered two fires within hours in mid-May.