Non-essential crew removed from burning Yantian Express

The US Coast Guard says 11 non-essential crew have been evacuated from  container ship Yantian Express (IMO 9229831),  large Halifax-bound container ship that has been burning far off the Nova Scotia coast of Canada.

Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup said the 11 have been moved to offshore support tug Smit Nicobar, which arrived on the scene last Friday night January 4th. He said 12 crew remained on board, adding that no injuries had been reported.

Yantian Express was travelling from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Halifax, Canada, when a fire started on Thursday January 3rd inside a container on the ship’s forward deck. The blaze then spread to several other containers, and coast guard officials in Boston received a call for help early Friday. Poor weather continued to prevent crews from extinguishing the fire burning aboard the ship, which is located about 1,775km southeast of Halifax.

“As it stands right now, they’re just waiting for the heavy weather to subside,” Canup said.

Hapag-Lloyd, which operates the 320-metre Yantian Express, said that it was still too early to assess damage to the ship or cargo, and there was no ETA for Halifax. “The weather and sea conditions are still difficult and further extinguishing work requires an improvement of these conditions”, company spokesman Tim Seifert said.

Another tug, Canada-flagged Maersk Mobiliser, was reported as en route from St. John’s to tow the 320-metre ship to Halifax and should by now be with the Yantian Express.

2002-built, Germany-flagged, 88,493 gt Yantian Express is owned and managed by Hapag-Lloyd of Hamburg, Germany. It is entered with Britannia Club on behalf of Hapag-Lloyd.