Firefighters battling container ship fire off Port Klang

Firefighters have now been working for days to extinguish a container fire aboard container ship Interasia Catalyst (IMO 9439711) off Port Klang, Malaysia.

On April 7th, shortly after the vessel set sail from Port Klang en route to the port of Cochin, Kerala, its crew spotted smoke coming from several of the containers on deck. The ship returned to an anchorage just off Port Klang. Local firefighting teams were called to the scene.

Unfortunately, from the five containers spotted to be emitting smoke on April 7th, the fire expanded to an additional six boxes. Five containers were reported as extinguished as of April 11th. Cooling and firefighting efforts continued.

Three of the affected containers were reported to be carrying the oxidizing agent sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate, a common peroxide ingredient in laundry detergents. Cooling efforts have focused on these cargoes.

Nearly 50 firefighters from local departments, the Naval Special Forces and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) are involved in the ongoing effort, according to officials.

Interasia Catalyst is a 2009-built 4,200 teu Panamax, owned by a Singaporean company and flagged in Singapore.

TT Club and IUMI have recently highlighted the ongoing danger of container fires, even though the recent high-profile events have related to containers coming loose and falling overboard in bad weather and rough seas.

Last year there were an estimated 60 fires, of varying severity, on container ships.

Allianz’s commercial insurance arm AGCS has said that it is particularly concerned about the risk of a container fire aboard an ultra-large boxship like the Maersk Honam. “Fire-fighting capabilities on board have not necessarily kept pace with the increasing vessel sizes. [ULCVs] provide economies of scale for shipping companies but the industry needs to make sure that risk management and safety standards are brought up to speed”.

2009-built, Singapore-flagged, 39,906 gt Interasia Catalyst is owned by Interasia Lines Singapore Pte of Singapore. Commercial manager is Ebony Ship Management Pte Ltd of Singapore. ISM manager is Fleet Management Ltd HKG of Hong Kong, China. It is entered with Britannia on behalf of Interasia Lines Singapore Pte Ltd.