Canadian Coast Guard evacuates crew from container ship off coast of British Columbia due to fire


The Canadian Coast Guard and the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in British Columbia evacuated crew members from a container ship anchored off Victoria after a fire began to spread to edge Saturday.

The Coast Guard said it received a report at around 11:00 a.m. PT, of a fire at two damaged containers on the MV Zim Kingston, which was bound for Vancouver. The ship, which is about five miles from shore, had 10 containers on fire at 10:50 p.m.

“The fire, however, continues to spread; as of this update, the ship itself is not on fire,” the coast guard said in a statement.

Video obtained by Reuters showed a fire descending from the ship’s deck into the water.

According to a JRCC spokesperson, 16 crew members were brought to the Ogden Point pier in Victoria. Five crew members remained on board Saturday evening to fight the blaze.

“An emergency zone has been established at Constance Bank in a [nautical] mile from the anchored container ship Zim Kingston, ”a notice on the Coast Guard’s Navigational Warnings website said Saturday night. “The ship is on fire and expels toxic gases. He also warned that two fallen containers were floating nearby.

The ship ran into problems on Friday when it lost 40 of its shipping containers in rough seas 70 kilometers west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Washington State and Vancouver Island .

The Zim Kingston is pictured burning on Saturday afternoon. (CHEK News)

The Coast Guard said Zim Kingston was carrying more than 52,000 kilograms of xanthates, including potassium amylxanthate, housed in two of the burning containers aboard the ship.

The compound, which is used in mining, is classified by the US government as “spontaneously combustible.” Potassium amylxanthate is also toxic to marine life.

Coastguards say there is no risk to people ashore, but the fire continues and an incident command post has been set up to handle the situation.

“The Canadian Coast Guard has not received any reports of injuries,” communications advisor Michelle Imbeau told CBC News.

It is not known what caused the fire, but a lifeboat from Victoria Coast Guard Station is near the Zim Kingston to serve as a safety vessel.

Victoria County. Stephen Andrew tweeted that the fire chief told him the public health risk from the blaze was “extremely low”.

“If the situation deteriorates, the city is ready to issue public warning messages. “

The Canadian Coast Guard said it was working with its U.S. counterpart to track the 40 containers that fell overboard, saying they posed a significant risk to mariners. As of late Saturday, the containers were about 22 kilometers off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Bamfield.

High winds were expected Sunday, which could make it difficult to recover the containers, the Canadian Coast Guard said.

“This is extremely concerning. The ship and containers are very close to Victoria, BC, and a big storm is forecast tonight. We … are concerned that this is news. environmental disaster, “said David Boudinot, President of Surfrider. Canada Foundation, an environmental organization.

Data company Eikon Refinitiv shows that the Maltese-flagged Zim Kingston is operated by Cypriot company Danaos Shipping Co. Ltd.


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