U.S. MILITARY SEALIFT SHIP CATCHES FIRE AT SUNNY POINT
U.S. military officials are investigating the cause of a weekend engine room fire aboard an ammunition ship berthed at the Military Traffic Management Command’s terminal in Sunny Point, N.C. Two crewmen died in the fire.
The vessel, the “Edward Carter,” was operated by the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The fire started about 4 p.m. Saturday and was extinguished about six hours later, MTMC officials said.
The vessel, which arrived at Sunny Point on June 14 to load explosives, was due to depart for Deigo Garcia in the Indian Ocean on July 27. The 950-foot vessel is part of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron Two and has a crew of 40 U.S. civilian merchant mariners.
While the vessel was not being loaded at the time of the fire, it carried about 1,232 ammunition containers onboard, or the equivalent of 5 million net explosive weight of assorted munitions and missiles.
Sunny Point is the U.S. military’s largest ocean terminal dedicated to handling explosive shipments. It was built with a large undeveloped buffer zone and huge sand berms for safety.
As a precaution, the Coast Guard closed the adjacent Cape Fear River for four miles in both directions to maritime traffic. No civilian evacuation was necessary.