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.
On February 20, the 77 foot long tugboat Miss Kate along with its 135 foot long barge in tow ran aground in Atlantic Ocean near Absecon Inlet on Brigantine Beach, New Jersey. The tug had lost power and drifted ashore near the inlet. No reports of injuries. The Coast Guard was notified and arrived on scene to monitor the situation. The Miss Kate and barge were later pulled off the beach and refloated a few days later. No reports of damage or pollution released. Both vessels were en route to Great Egg Harbor Inlet.
On November 18, the 142 meter long passenger cruise ship Le Boréal became disabled while en route to South Georgia from Ushuaia, Argentina on a 15 day cruise in the South Atlantic Ocean and Antarctica. The Le Boréal had suffered an engine room fire while off the Falkland Islands. The crew was able to extinguish the blaze, but the cruise ship had sustained significant damage resulting with a total loss of all power. Adrift, the Le Boréal was being driven towards Cape Dolphin, East Falkland by a strong northwesterly gale. With no possibility of restoring power and a risk of going aground, the Le Boréal sent out a distress call and ordered everyone on board to abandon ship.
Authorities on the Falklands Islands received the call and with British Forces dispatched helicopters and vessels to the scene. When rescuers arrived on scene, they found multiple life rafts from the Le Boréal with over 200 persons while a small number still on the deck of the cruise ship. Rescue helicopters lifted 79 off the deck while the HMS Clyde rescued over 200 people from the life rafts.
Authorities later reported that all passengers and crew had been accounted and were safely taken to the Falklands. Two tugs were dispatched and was able to keep the Le Boréal from going aground. Reports state the tug and salvage crews were to assess the condition of the Le Boréal. No reports of injuries or pollution released.