A fatal fire on board a Japanese ferry continues to burn off the coast of Japan five days after it first started.
The 11,401-ton Sunflower Daisetsu Ro-Pax was carrying 71 passengers and 23 crew when the fire broke out Friday evening as the ferry was about 34 miles from the coast of Tomakomai, a port city located in Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. Firefighting has been ongoing since Saturday morning.
All 71 passengers were rescued from the vessel by Japanese patrols boats. Of the 23 crew on board, all but one were safely evacuated. The second mate, who was fighting the fire, was reported missing and his body was recovered near the source of the fire on Monday.
Towing of the ferry commenced Tuesday and as of Wednesday the vessel had arrived just off the coast of Hakodate, Japan.
An update Wednesday from MOL Ferry Co., which operates the vessel, said that the ferry is stable but the fire had not yet been extinguished.
Reports says that the fire may have started in an area where three or four refrigerated container trucks were parked.
As many as 15 Coast Guard patrol boats, five aircraft, and several tugboats have been involved in the response, reports say.
The Sunflower Daisetsu was sailing from Oarai port to Tomakomai when the fire broke out.
- Gross tonnage: 11,401 tons
- Speed: 25 knots
- Total length: 190m
- Overall width: 26.4m
- Passenger capacity: 154 people
- Vehicle equipped with maximum number: passenger car 62 vehicles / heavy trucks 160 units