Crew Member Jumps Off Ship Ablaze With 3000 Cars Leaving 1 Crew Dead And 22 Injured

The Dutch coast guard mentioned that a fire on a freight vessel carrying almost 3,000 cars reportedly burned out of control on Wednesday in the North Sea, taking the life of one crew member and injuring the rest. The agency added that it was trying hard to save the ship from sinking near an essential habitat for migratory birds.

Helicopters and boats were used to get the 23 crew members off the vessel after they unsuccessfully tried to put out the blaze, the coast guard mentioned in a statement. The cause of the blaze was not immediately seen, and it was unclear how the crew member lost his life. The Fremantle Highway was sailing to Singapore from the German port of Bremerhaven when it caught fire about 27 kilometers north of the island of Ameland.

Credit: @Kustwacht_nl/ Twitter

A tugboat was used to pull the cargo vessel out of major shipping channels from and to Germany. The freighter, operated by K-Line but owned by a subsidiary of the Japanese shipbuilding major, Imabari Shipbuilding, is stationary; however, the Dutch coastguard said it may be listing. The immediate challenge for emergency crew members at the spot is extinguishing the fire and keeping the cargo vessel afloat.

Salvage boats have reportedly been circling the vessel in preparation for probable scenarios, and an oil-recovery ship has been sent out to the spot if there is a leak. Air traffic officials have also barred planes from flying close to the vessel. The North Sea Foundation environmental group mentioned that the Wadden Sea had become more vulnerable as bigger vessels used a busy shipping channel.

Approximately four years ago, 270 shipping containers, some chemicals, fell off yet another cargo vessel registered with Panama in a storm, and some of the containers washed up on the Dutch beaches.

In 2022, a cargo vessel loaded with 4,000 luxury cars caught fire and sank off the Azores. The lithium-ion batteries in cars caught fire on the Felicity Ace. Even though the water was ineffective in putting the fire out, firefighters brought it under control eventually before the vessel went down when being towed.

Reference: BBC, Reuter, AP News

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