Explosion in container sets fire to boxship

An explosion in one of the 464 containers aboard boxship SSL Kolkata (IMO 9346574) caused the cargo to catch fire late on June 13th near the Sandheads anchorage in the Bay of Bengal. All 22 crew were rescued, the Indian Coast Guard said.

SSL Kolkata was sailing from Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to Kolkata when the fire broke out. The Coast Guard continued to monitor the 148-metre ship, which was still burning and adrift.

Shreyas Shipping and Logistics has hired a Singapore-based company to salvage the ship. It took around nine hours before a Coast Guard ship reached the vessel after the fire broke out, some 100km from the Sagar islands in South 24-Parganas. The crew apparently could not control the blaze because of rough winds and choppy seas. The ship was also carrying more than 200 metric tonnes of fuel. Fire eventually engulfed most of the ship and there was fear of an oil spill.

The crew rescue was slow and dangerous. A raft roped to a rescue ship was sent near the vessel. Eleven of the crew climbed down a ladder fitted to SSL Kolkata and got onto the raft, which was then drawn towards the rescue ship. The other 11 members were rescued in the same way a little later. The last crew member stepped on to the Rajkiran at 13:45 on June 14th. By the evening of June 14, the ship was drifting 40 km off the coast.

2006-built, India-flagged, 9,956 gt SSL Kolkata is owned and managed by Shreyas Shipping & Logistics of Mumbai, India. ISM manager is TW Ship Management Pvt Ltd of Mumbai, India. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd.