This picture, released by NSRI, was taken from the bridge of the CMA CGM Lilac which caught fire over the weekend near Cape Town. Image credit: Gavin Kode

This picture, released by South Africa’s NSRI, was taken from the bridge of the CMA CGM Lilac which caught fire over the weekend near Cape Town. Image credit: Gavin Kode

A fire which broke out over the weekend on board an anchored containership off Cape Town has been blamed on undeclared dangerous goods.

As gCaptain reported earlier this week, crews in South Africa responded early Saturday to a fire that broke out in a cargo hold of the fully-laden CMA CGM containership, MV Lilac, while the vessel was at an anchorage off the Port of Table Bay near Cape Town.

In a statement Wednesday, manager of the MV Lilac said that the situation has been successfully resolved and the MV Lilac left Cape Town Monday, September 30th, 2013. An inspection of the vessel has revealed that the source of the fire was a single container in hold number 6 and the fire did not spread to other containers.

The statement added that an incorrect declaration of the contents – omitting that the contents were Dangerous Goods under the IMDG code – was a major contributing factor to the fire, the update said.

The prompt action by the Master, who sealed the hold and used CO2 to contain any fire, and by the Authorities who moved the vessel to the container docks at Table Bay Port and berthed the vessel at a layup container wharf, minimized a potentially more serious situation, the statement said. The quick action by the crew prevented any further damage and within 48 hours the MV LILAC resumed its scheduled voyage.

The MV Lilac is a 39,295 DWT containership, is Hong Kong flagged and was built in 2005.

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  • Captain Chris Allport, FNI

    Significantly more important to declare the contents correctly than to get the weight right. I think IMO have addressed the wrong problem?

  • Capt. Geest

    No surprises here, I can recall no fewer than 15 separate containerized shipments of bulk activated carbon that self-combusted while aboard MSC ships when I was working there. 13 were not properly classed or even ID’d properly in the manifest. Luckily all of the events were smoldering fires that the crew was able to handle until they offloaded the box in NY, where the port fire department would then drown the box.

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