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M/V Genius Star XI arrives dockside in Dutch Harbor, Alaska on January 30, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

M/V Genius Star XI arrives dockside in Dutch Harbor, Alaska on January 30, 2024. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

‘Genius Star XI’ Docks in Dutch Harbor After Lithium-Ion Battery Fire

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 5637
January 31, 2024

The M/V Genius Star XI has docked at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to facilitate the ongoing salvage work in response to a fire involving its lithium-ion battery cargo last month.

The decision to move the vessel to the dock was made by the Salvage Master, Coast Guard Salvage Engineering Response Team, and technical experts who assessed the best approach for re-securing the cargo.

The fire on the Genius Star XI was first reported on December 28, 2023, as the ship was approximately 225 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor. The Panama-flagged vessel, operated by Wisdom Lines in Taiwan, was en route from Vietnam to Dutch Harbor when the fire broke out in a cargo hold filled with industrial lithium-ion batteries.

After the initial incident, the Coast Guard directed the ship to continue towards Dutch Harbor, where it eventually anchored offshore.

The Genius Star XI has now been moved to the Unalaska Marine Center Dock 1 and 2, where responders will focus on resecuring the damaged lithium-ion industrial battery unit cargo. Supplies will be loaded onto the vessel using its crane, though currently there are no plans to bring any cargo ashore in Dutch Harbor.

Prior to the ship’s arrival in port, an air monitoring system was repositioned under the direction of the Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team and local public safety officials. There have been no reports of abnormal air quality either on the ship or in the local community since the incident began.

“Moving the ship to a pier allows workers a safer and more efficient environment to work and mitigates work delays caused by weather or rough seas,” said Capt. Chris Culpepper, Captain of the Port. “Based on the recommendations of several agencies and technical experts, we are confident operations can be conducted safely and with no additional risk to the community to expedite preparing the vessel to continue its voyage.”

The Unified Command, which consists of the Coast Guard, Gallagher Marine Systems on behalf of the vessel’s owner, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, continues to respond to this incident.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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