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Crew evacuated from container ship fire off BC coast

The weekend was marked by a dramatic maritime incident, with crew members safely evacuated from the MV Zim Kingston  on which ten containers caught fire Saturday in Pacific waters some 8 kms off Victoria. It was the same vessel which two days earlier had lost 35-40 containers in heavy seas west of Vancouver Island.

The Canadian Coast Guard indicated that flames broke out on the MV Zim Kingston around 11 a.m. on Saturday. Two of the burning containers were carrying potassium amylxanthate, a hazardous material used in mining operations.

The Canadian Coast Guard declared an Emergency Zone and advised all vessels to stay at least two nautical miles away.

Sixteen crew members were evacuated on Saturday, while five stayed on board to fight the fire.

“Overnight, the tug Seaspan Raven has cooled the hull of the MV Zim Kingston by spraying the hull with cold water,” the Canadian Coast Guard said on Twitter. “Due to the nature of chemicals onboard the container ship, applying water directly to the fire is not an option.”

“The fire appears to have been contained,” Cyprus-based Danaos Shipping, the company which manages the ship, said on Sunday.  “Danaos have commissioned a salvage and fire extinguishing agency to come on board in order to ensure that conditions are appropriate for the safe return of the vessel’s crew.”

(Photo Canadian Coast Guard)