A tugboat pours water on the container ship Zim Kingston after it caught fire off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada October 25, 2021. Canadian Coast Guard/Handout via REUTERS.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board Sends Investigators to Assess ZIM Kingston Fire

Mike Schuler
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November 4, 2021

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has deployed a team of investigators following last month’s fire on the containership ZIM Kingston off of Victoria, British Columbia.

The announcement, made Wednesday, comes nearly two weeks after the ship lost over 100 containers during heavy weather west of the Straits of Juan De Fuca entrance on October 21. The ship later caught fire at an anchorage off of Victoria, where the fire was brought under control and extinguished, limiting damage to the ship and its cargo.

The TSB says the investigators will gather information and assess the occurrence, but the agency stopped short of saying it has launched a full-fledged investigation. The incident is also not listed under a list of active investigations on the TSB website. A spokesperson for the TSB said the investigation team is continuing to gather information and they “are assessing this information to determine the scope of the investigation.”

The announcement of the investigators’ deployment also comes as questions are raised about why the ship was caught in the storm in the first place.

Experts and AIS ship tracking data have pointed out that the ZIM Kingston was holding outside the Juan de Fuca entrance, making around 2.5 to 3 knots, from about October 20, before the storm hit, until the vessel proceeded to the Constance Bank on October 23, after the storm and before the fire was reported.

Among the 109 containers reported lost, two are known to have contained hazardous materials. Authorities were initially monitoring dozens of the boxes lost from the ship and some have washed up along west coast of Victoria Island.

ZIM Kingston is a Maltese-flagged containership built in 2008 and with a carrying capacity of 4,253 TEUs. The ship is owned by Danaos Corporation (NYSE: DAC) and chartered to ZIM Integrated Shipping Services (NYSE: ZIM).

Marine investigations are required to be investigated by the ship’s flag state, in this case Malta, but transportation safety agencies with jurisdiction over incidents will also conduct their own investigations either independently or in cooperation with flag states.

As of Thursday, ZIM Kingston remained at the Constance Bank anchorage off Victoria. Once cleared, the ship will head to a location still to be determined for cargo operations.

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