Ship Carrying BMWs And Mercedes Still Ablaze Off Dutch Coast For The 2nd Day

The unfortunate incident resulted in the loss of a crew member’s life and raised worries about fuel leaks and harm to the Wadden Sea, marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A cargo ship carrying nearly 3,000 automobiles, including vehicles that belong to the BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz Group AG, caught on fire close to the Netherlands and kept burning until the second day. A member of the crew, an Indian, lost his life as the fire started to overwhelm the vessel.

The Indian Embassy in the Netherlands reportedly grieved the loss of the crew member. The Embassy further mentioned on Twitter that they are saddened by the incident that involved the ship “Fremantle Highway” in the North Sea, resulting in the loss of life of an Indian seafarer and severe injuries to the entire crew. The Embassy of India has been in touch with the deceased’s family and has also been assisting in repatriating the mortal remains.

Video Credit: @Kustwacht_nl/ Youtube

The Embassy is in touch with the remaining 20 injured members, who are safe and receiving medical aid. All assistance is being given in coordination with relevant Dutch authorities and the shipping firm, the statement posted on Twitter. The decade-old vessel fit for moving up to 4,000 vehicles was reminiscent of an earlier maritime disaster involving a burning cargo vessel that had sunk in the Atlantic with about 4,000 Volkswagen cars.

As of 8:30 a.m., on Thursday, per Amsterdam time, the fire was ongoing, preventing towing/rescue tasks from starting operations. Officials cannot board the vessel owing to worries regarding the stability and the presence of water in the ship. The Fremantle Highway was flying the flag of Panama and going for Port Said in Egypt, from the port of Bremerhaven, with Singapore as the final destination for vehicles.

About 25 vehicles on the vessel were EVs, and it is also feared that one could have started the fire with the blaze probably going on for a long. About 300 of those vehicles belong to the German carmaker brand Mercedes-Benz. In contrast, several brands such as Stellantis NV, Toyota Motor Corp, Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co, and Ford Motor Co declared not to have vehicles on the vessel.

Volkswagen AG was looking into the case, and Tesla Inc. still needed to answer the inquiries. Many BMW cars are reportedly onboard the ship, according to the rescuers. However, the quantity of the vehicles is unknown. Precautionary measures were taken to halt the fuel leaks, and an oil recovery vessel was on-site to respond quickly if a leak occurred.

The vessel’s area near the Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its delicate ecological environment, raised concerns regarding possible oil leaks. But, the officials expressed that fuel leakage would spread to the north, away from the Wadden Islands, owing to the current and the expected weather conditions.

Reference: Business Standard, Indian Express, Bloomberg

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