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Crew evacuated from burning Hapag-Lloyd ship in North Atlantic

Jan 4, 2019 12:22 PM

The tugboat Smit Nicobar remains on scene providing firefighting assistance

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) — The Coast Guard continues coordinating response efforts to ensure the safety of the crew of a containership approximately 1,015 miles northeast of Bermuda on Monday.

On Saturday evening, 11 non-essential crewmembers were evacuated from Yantian Express to the tugboat Smit Nicobar, and Sunday morning all remaining crew were evacuated to Smit Nicobar.

The Coast Guard is currently monitoring the situation. Smit Nicobar remains on scene providing firefighting assistance.

The commercial tugboat Maersk Mobiliser is also en route and approximately 80 miles northwest of Yantian Express. Upon arrival, the tug's crew plans to tow Yantian Express to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"We’ve been monitoring the situation to provide as much assistance as possible and keeping in open communication," said Chief Petty Officer Ryan Langley, operations unit watch stander at the 5th District command center. "It is through open and regular communication that the safety of the crew has been seen to and the response remains organized." 

Coast Guard watch standers with the 1st District command center in Boston received a report that there was a fire aboard Yantian Express on Thursday morning. They requested assistance through the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) for vessels that may be in the area and notified their counterparts in the 5th District command center in Portsmouth who assumed responsibility for the case.

The AMVER vessel Happy Ranger's crew were 20 miles from the position and diverted their course to provide assistance. On Friday, Smit Nicobar crew arrived on scene and began to provide assistance, relieving Happy Ranger's crew.

For information on the AMVER program, visit www.amver.com.

No injuries or pollution have been reported.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) — The Coast Guard is coordinating response efforts to ensure the safety of the crew of a container ship approximately 860 miles northeast of Bermuda on Friday.

Coast Guard watch standers with the 1st District Command Center in Boston received a report that there was a fire aboard the containership Yantian Express on Thursday morning. They requested assistance through the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) for vessels that may be in the area and notified their counterparts in the 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth who assumed responsibility for the case.

The AMVER vessel Happy Ranger's crew were 20 miles from the position and diverted their course to provide assistance.

The Coast Guard is currently monitoring the situation. Happy Ranger's crew remains nearby to provide assistance. A commercial tugboat is also en route. 

"Thanks to the participation of mariners in the AMVER system, we were able to coordinate a quick response," said Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Badal, operations unit watchstander at the 5th District command center. "This system is crucial to coordinating nearby vessels to provide assistance when an emergency arises far from Coast Guard assets."

For information on the AMVER program, visit http://www.amver.com

No injuries or pollution have been reported.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(FRANKFURT) — German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd said on Friday that it was trying to extinguish a fire on its Yantian Express containership off Canada’s east coast, but its efforts were being hampered by bad weather, Reuters reported.

A spokesman for Hapag-Lloyd said the fire broke out on Thursday in a container on deck and spread to some other containers, but the cause was not yet known. The 7,519-TEU ship was on its way from Sri Lanka to Halifax, Nova Scotia and was currently sailing at a slow speed about 650 nautical miles off the east coast of Canada.

Strong winds meant attempts to extinguish the fire had to be halted on Friday, with the hope of restarting on Saturday, the spokesman said. A second ship was nearby to support Yantian Express and a tugboat was on its way to assist with firefighting.

The crew of eight officers and 15 seafarers remained on board but were safe, the spokesman said.

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