American Car Carrier Suffers Fire in English Channel

File Photo: ARC
File Photo: ARC

An American car carrier with 21 crew members suffered a fire aboard while underway in the English Channel en route to Baltimore from Southampton.

The UK Coastguard says it was notified at around 3:45 a.m. on Friday of a fire on board the US-flagged roll-on/roll-off vehicle carrier MV Honor.

The Coastguard said the vessel’s fixed firefighting systems were used to combat the fire and the cargo space has been sealed. The ship’s crew continued to monitor the cargo area as the vessel headed back towards Southampton under its own power and with full maneuverability. The ship was planned to anchor to the South East of the Isle of Wight in the Solent.

AIS data from MarineTraffic.com shows the track of the vessel:

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 11.25.38 AM
Credit: MarineTraffic.com

“UK Coastguard is monitoring the situation closely and the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has been notified of the incident,” a media release by the UK Coastguard said. “A Fire and Rescue Marine Response team is to be airlifted on board the vessel by the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lee on Solent to further investigate the fire damage and determine whether or not it is safe for the vessel to return to Southampton Port. In addition, a pilot from Southampton Port and a MCA Marine Casualty Officer will be sent to the vessel to assist the assessment process prior to the vessel being allowed to return to Southampton.”

The MV Honor is operated by American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier (ARC). The company said the fire has been extinguished, but the impacted and now-sealed cargo hold has not yet been inspected. The company confirmed there were no injuries among the 21 crew members onboard.

Andy Jenkins, Commander for the UK Coastguard said: “The 21 crew are still on board the vessel and they are safe and well. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as it develops.”

An update from the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said fire fighters have boarded the vessel by helicopter.

The MV Honor was built in 1997 and is 622 feet in length.

Back in January, another American car carrier, the Alliance St. Louis, suffered an electrical fire in the engine room while in Gulf of Mexico, causing the ship to lose propulsion power.