MSC Flaminia Update: Blast Leaves Two Dead, Three Injured [UPDATED]

The 6,750 teu box ship, MSC Flaminia

Update (Tues. 7/24/12): Blaze Contained on MSC Flaminia

Wednesday Update: Photos Reveal Damage to MSC Flaminia After Blast, Firefighting Efforts Underway

Tuesday Morning Update: MSC Flaminia operator, NSB Niederelbe Reederei NSB expressed some good news for the three injured seafarers from Saturday’s blast.

In a statement, the company said that two of the less-injured crewmembers are being treated in a hospital in the Azores and both are expected to be released later in the week. The third, more seriously burned crewmember was successfully transferred to a burn unit in Portugal where he will undergo treatment.  The remaining crewmembers remain on the DS Crown and are expected to arrive in Falmouth, UK in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, the MS Hanjin Ottawa, Flaminia’s sister ship, arrived at the site Tuesday morning but has not yet been able to assess the damage to the Flaminia. SMIT salvage tug Fairmount Expedition and Angian Sovereign are still in transit.

“This tragedy onboard MSC FLAMINIA has deeply afflicted me,” said Helmut Ponath, CEO of Reederei NSB. “Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and the missing sailor as well as with the recued and their families. We are in constant and close contact with the relatives of all our crewmembers and passengers.”

Monday Update: Additional details are starting to trickle in Monday about the explosion on board the MSC Flaminia that occurred over the weekend in the mid-Atlantic, killing two and injuring three others.

The MSC Flaminia ablaze in the mid-Atlantic.

The operator of MSC Flaminia, Reederei NSB of Germany, said that the vessel suffered an explosion as crews were battling a fire that broke out in the vessel’s number 4 cargo hatch.  The ship was transiting the north Atlantic Ocean on its way from the Charleston to Antwerp with 2,876 containers.

As gCaptain had reported earlier, the explosion forced all crew to abandon ship and prompted the Falmouth Coastguard to broadcast an alert to all vessels in the area asking for assistance.  The very large crude carrier, DS Crown, was first on the scene and was able to recover 24 crew from a liferaft.

A total of four crewmembers were reported to have sustained injuries and one crewmember was missing.  It was later reported that one of the four crewmembers had died from the injuries sustained.

On Monday, the three injured crewmembers were transfered to the MSC Stella and later taken by helicopter to a hospital in Azores.  In a statement, NSB Niederelbe says that two of the men are in stable condition and one has been transferred to Portugal to receive care.

The remaining 18 crew members, together with two passengers, remain onboard the DS Crown which is expected to arrive at the UK port of Falmouth on Wednesday evening.

NSB Niederelbe has also revealed that it has contracted SMIT Salvage of Rotterdam to lead salvage operations.  SMIT has already dispatched two large firefighting tugs to the Flaminia. The first, Fairmount Expedition, is expected to arrive in the area on Tuesday evening while the second tug, Anglian Sovereign, equipped with additional firefighting equipment, will leave Inverness, Scotland, on Monday and is expected to arrive on scene either late Thursday or early Friday.

NSB Niederelbe also says that an additional vessel in their fleet has been re-routed to help support the salvage operations.

No word yet on what may have caused the fire and explosion or the extent of the damage to the vessel, Reederei NSB said, adding that we will have to await salvage crews to arrive on scene to make those determinations.

NSB Niederelbe operates a fleet of 109 ships with a total capacity of more than 460,000 teu.