On January 3, the 321 meters long, 100003 dwt container ship Yantian Express caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and Canada. The Yantian Express was en route to Halifax from Colombo, Sri Lanka when a fire started in one of the containers on the fore deck. Winds caused the fire to quickly spread to other containers on deck. The vessel changed course to reduce the winds as crew attempted to extinguish the blaze. The fire continued to spread as strong winds made it difficult to contain. The Yantian Express requested assistance with several salvage tugs responding.
On January 6, the salvage tug Smit Nicobar arrived on scene and began fire fighting efforts. The tug also evacuated 11 of the 23 crew off the Yantian Express. Reports state another tug had been dispatched from St. John’s to tow the Yantian Express to Halifax. No reports of injuries.
Update January 12
The owners of the Yantian Express provided an update stating the fire has spread from the deck to containers in Holds 1 and 2. Containers in Bay 1 to 24 have been damaged by fire, smoke, heat or by water in the fire fighting efforts. All reefer containers in the area impacted were turned off as a precaution.
Update January 19
Reports state there are three tugs assisting the Yantian Express. The container ship was taken under tow on January 16 to be towed to Halifax. Owners report that the fire was “widely” contained, but fire fighting efforts were still ongoing.