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Fire Out On Fremantle Highway

The ship Fremantle Highway is pictured in its temporary location, 16 kilometers above Schiermonnikoog and Ameland, July 31, 2023. Coastguard Netherlands/Handout via REUTERS

Fire Out On Fremantle Highway

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 8629
August 1, 2023

The fire on board the car carrier Fremantle Highway has diminished to the point that there is no indication that it is still burning as the ship remains at its temporary anchorage 16 kilometers from the islands of Schiermonnikoog and Ameland in the North Sea.

Rijkswaterstaat, an agency of the Dutch government, continues its response to the incident and reports that the Fremantle Highway remains stable at its temporary anchorage with a tug connected. The oil recovery vessel, MS Arca, patrols nearby looking for any sign of oil pollution. So far there has been none.

At its temporary anchorage away from shipping lanes, salvors from Multraship and Smit Salvage have been able to board the vessel for an initial inspection. Rijkswaterstaat reports that “there are no indications that there is still a fire” and the ship remains intact below the waterline.

Efforts are underway to develop a plan for the towing the vessel to a final destination that is yet to be determined. “[This depends] on the situation on board the cargo ship, the expected weather conditions and an available port with the right facilities,” Rijkswaterstaat said in its latest update. “There is constant consultation with all parties involved about where the ship should go and when the movement can start.”

Meanwhile, the ship’s Japanese charterer, “K” Line, is reporting that 20 out of the 22 personnel who were hospitalized following the incident have been released from the hospital. The exception being Fremantle Highway’s Captain and a pilot who remain hospitalized.

As we reported previously, there were 23 personnel on board at the time of the fire, including 21 Indian crew members, a pilot and superintendent. One of the Indian crew members died as result of the incident.

The Fremantle Highway was traveling from Germany to Egypt when the fire broke out on July 26, not far from where the ship is anchored currently. “K” Line said on Friday there were 3,783 new vehicles on board, including 498 electric vehicles, which is significantly more than the 25 initially reported by the Dutch Coastguard.

Reporting indicates some of the crew members were forced to jump into the water to avoid flames, while others were rescued by helicopter.

The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), as the authority of the ship’s flag state, will conduct an investigation into the incident. The Dutch Safety Board said it will assist in the investigation.

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