Disabled Tanker Towed to New York After ‘Significant’ Engine Room Fire

The disabled Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO sits at anchor off the coast of New York City, Oct. 8, 2018. The ship had become disabled after a fire broke out in their engine room causing major damage to machinery. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. Coast Guard and local first responders responded to a disabled 479-foot asphalt tanker off the coast of Nantucket Island on Monday after the vessel suffered what the Coast Guard described as a ‘significant’ fire that damaged multiple systems.

The Coast Guard reported Monday that the fire broke out in the engine room of the Hong Kong-flagged Feng Huang AO as it was underway in the Atlantic Ocean on October 5, approximately 57 miles southeast of Nantucket. The ship is loaded with asphalt and was bound for New York Harbor.

The fire was extinguished using the ship’s installed carbon dioxide fire suppression system.

There were no reports of injuries to crew members or pollution, however the ship’s electrical generators and main engine were disabled by the fire.

Coast Guard Cutter Legare, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter, homeported in Portsmouth, Va., was diverted to the area to assist the stricken vessel.

Salvage tugs were dispatched to rendezvous with the tanker and take it under tow. Towing operations towards New York began early Sunday morning as Coast Guard Sector New York personnel monitored the vessel’s transit through offshore shipping lanes.

Inspection crews from Sector New York and FDNY boarded the vessel Monday afternoon to assess damage and ensure the ship’s safety prior to allowing entry into New York Harbor. 

U.S. Coast Guard Photo

“This was a significant engine room fire that damaged a number of vessel systems, and we are fortunate there were no injuries,” said Capt. Jason Tama, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York. “Responding to this case required close coordination between numerous partner agencies and stakeholders to ensure the safety of the ship and the port, and to protect the environment. The assistance and expertise provided by FDNY marine firefighters was essential to the safe resolution of this case.”

“The Port Security Grant Program has funded many training evolutions for the FDNY, which has translated into the successful multi-agency execution during this live event,” said John Esposito, FDNY Chief of Special Operations. “The collaboration during this incident exemplifies the importance of strong relationships between the FDNY and the Coast Guard.”

The Feng Huang AO will remain in port until repairs are completed.

The cause of the vessel’s fire is under investigation.