Shipping containers catch fire off British Columbia

(Reuters) – A fire broke out on Saturday in containers on a cargo ship carrying mining chemicals off British Columbia, and the Canadian Coast Guard said it was working with the U.S. Coast Guard to assess the situation, including environmental risks.

The Canadian Coast Guard said in a statement late on Saturday that 16 crew members had been evacuated from the MV Zim Kingston while five remained on board to fight the fire.

She added that ten containers are currently burning, adding that the fire continued to spread, but the ship itself did not burn.

The agency said it was working with its US counterpart to track down 40 containers that fell into the sea, saying they posed a significant risk to sailors.

“Sailors are advised to stay away from the area. Currently there are no risks to the safety of people on shore, however the situation will continue to be monitored.”

Fire streams from the deck of the container ship ZIM Kingston into the waters off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, October 23, 2021, as seen through binoculars, in this image obtained via social media. Surfrider Foundation Canada via Reuters

A video obtained by Reuters showed a fire pouring from the ship’s deck into the water.

On Friday, Zim Kingston newspaper reported that it experienced severe weather west of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

“This is very concerning. The ship and the containers are very close to Victoria, British Columbia, and a major storm is expected to hit tonight. We are concerned that this could be another environmental disaster,” said David Bodenot, president of Surfrider. Canada Foundation, an environmental organization.

Eikon Refinitiv data shows that Maltese-flagged Zim Kingston is operated by Cyprus-based Danaos Shipping Co Ltd.

(This story is corrected to add the dropped word ‘on’ in the title)

(Covering) By Bhargav Acharya, Chris Hellgren and Noor Azna Sanusi Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Frances Kerry

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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