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Crew safe after vehicle carrier catches fire in Jacksonville

Jun 4, 2020 06:30 PM

An explosion injures eight firefighters aboard M/V Hoegh Xiamen at Blount Island

U.S. Coast Guard photo

UPDATE:

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A fire aboard the vehicle carrier M/V Hoegh Xiamen docked at Blount Island was “under control and contained” as of Sunday morning, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said, according to News4Jax.

The department added that the fire was still burning due to access issues, and according to experts, it could continue to do so for days.

On Saturday, crews were cooling the ship with more than 25,000 gallons of water per minute on all sides. Firefighters will not be sent back inside to battle the fire but instead will let it burn out, the department reported.

PREVIOUS REPORT:

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A fire was still burning Friday morning aboard a vehicle carrier at Blount Island and nine firefighters were reported injured, eight of them in an explosion, News4Jax said.

According to Jacksonville Fire Chief Keith Powers, the fire started Thursday on the seventh deck of M/V Hoegh Xiamen, which was loaded with automobiles. After firefighters closed the ship’s dampers at about 6:45 p.m. to starve the fire of oxygen, the explosion occurred.

“It’s a tough situation and very dangerous – that’s one of the most dangerous situations firefighters encounter is when they’re in a ship fire,” Powers said.

Crews are spraying the ship with water, not to try to extinguish the flames but to keep the ship’s exterior cool. An oil response team from Resolve Marine is also on the way to the docked ship, and containment boom was placed in the St. Johns River.

Coast Guard Capt. Mark Vlaun said the No. 1 goal for crews throughout the night was to maintain the structural integrity of the ship.

Click here to read the story.

Previous news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — The Coast Guard and partner agencies are responding to fire Thursday on board a cargo ship at Blount Island. All 21 crewmembers have been safely accounted for.

Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville watch standers were notified at 3:53 p.m. of a fire on board M/V Hoegh Xiamen, a 600-foot vehicle carrier. The watch standers immediately notified Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station Mayport 45-foot response boat-medium crew.

Currently on scene are:

Coast Guard Station Mayport RB-M crew
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
Blount Island Port Authority

A 500-yard safety zone has been established around M/V Hoegh Xiamen. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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