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Fire Extinguished on Grande Costa D’Avorio in Port Newark

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Zeita Merchant, the captain of the port and federal on-scene coordinator, addresses the media during a press conference in front of the motor vessel Grande Costa D’Avorio in Port Newark, New Jersey, July 11, 2023. A fire broke out on the vessel at the Port Newark Marine Terminal in New Jersey on July 5, 2023. (U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mikaela McGee)

Fire Extinguished on Grande Costa D’Avorio in Port Newark

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 5549
July 11, 2023

The fire on board the Grande Costa D’Avorio has been extinguished at Port Newark, New Jersey, the Unified Command announced Tuesday.

The response will now transition from shipboard firefighting operations, to investigation and salvage operations. The investigation will be led by the U.S. Coast Guard, working with the NTSB and other agencies.

The first started last Wednesday night as the vessel was loading used vehicles for export. Tragically, two firefighters were killed in the initial response and six others were injured.

“I want to share our heartfelt condolences once again to families of Newark firefighters Augusto Acabou and Wayne Brooks Jr., as well as to their colleagues, their fellow first responders, and the community they both lived in and served,” said Capt. Zeita Merchant, the captain of the port of New York and New Jersey and federal on-scene coordinator. “Their selfless sacrifice is on the minds of all involved in the response and we will never forget their acts of courage.”

The Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Newark Fire Department, and Gallagher Marine Systems, representing the ship operator, Grimaldi Deep Sea SpA, part of Italy-based Grimaldi Group.

As the fire response phase concludes, the focus now shifts towards investigation and salvage operations to assess and mitigate any remaining risks or impact to port operations. Salvage operations aim to safely remove and recover the affected vessel while minimizing environmental impact.

A formal investigation will be led by the Coast Guard and also involve National Transportation Safety Board, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New Jersey State Fire Marshal, New Jersey State Police, Newark Fire Arson Division, Essex County Prosecutor. The investigation will seek to determine the root causes and contributing factors of the fire.

“The safety and security of the maritime infrastructure remain paramount, and the Unified Command is committed to upholding its mission to protect the nation’s maritime interests,” The Unified Command said in a statement. ”The transition from shipboard fire response to salvage and investigation operations at Port Newark highlights the dedication, professionalism, and resilience of its personnel and partners.”

The Grande Costa d’Avorio, built in 2011, is a combination container/roll-on/roll-off (ConRo) vssel deployed on the North America-West Africa regular ro/ro service operated by Grimaldi Deep Sea. The company said the vessel was 1,200 vehicles and 157 containers when the fire started, but there are reportedly no electric vehicles or hazardous cargo aboard.

As of Sunday evening, Grande Costa D’Avorio’s 11th deck was being monitored and overhauled to address any remaining heat sources, while responders dewatered spaces to ensure the stability of the vessel.

The Port Newark Channel was reopened as of 5 p.m. Sunday. The Port of New York and New Jersey has remeind open and operational.

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