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The M/V Genius Star XI loitering outside Dutch Harbor, Alaska, December 30, 2023. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

The M/V Genius Star XI loitering outside Dutch Harbor, Alaska, December 30, 2023. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Cargo Ship Carrying Lithium-Ion Batteries Anchored Near Dutch Harbor After Fire

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 7068
January 2, 2024

The M/V Genius Star XI, carrying lithium-ion batteries, has been anchored near Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and poses no immediate risk following last week’s fire in one of the cargo holds, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

As a precautionary measure, the vessel has been moved to Broad Bay for storm avoidance based on recommendations from an Alaska Marine Pilot and the Salvage Master aboard the ship.

The Coast Guard provided an update on the vessel Tuesday, stating that assessment teams on site reported normal air quality and no signs of heat in or around the cargo holds. The fire was reported in a cargo hold last Thursday morning while the ship was approximately 225 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor. The presence of lithium-ion batteries increased the level of concern.

Following the incident, the Coast Guard directed the M/V Genius Star XI to continue towards Dutch Harbor and await further instructions offshore. As a safety measure, the vessel was moored using an Emergency Towing System, which was pre-staged on board in case the ship lost propulsion and required towing.

On Sunday, the Coast Guard confirmed that the atmosphere inside the affected cargo hold remained non-flammable, indicating no immediate risk of fire. Remote sensing tools were used to assess the situation and the cargo holds remained sealed.

While the vessel remains anchored, its engines will be kept in warm status and a tug is on standby in case of adverse weather conditions requires relocation.

A one-mile safety zone around the vessel remains in effect, and mariners wishing to enter this zone must request permission on VHF Channel 16.

The incident is being managed by the Unified Command, which consists of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Gallagher Marine Systems, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The Unified Command is closely coordinating response efforts.

Once response operations are complete, an investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the cargo hold fire.

The Panama-registered M/V Genius Star XI, operated by Wisdom Lines in Taiwan, was en route from Vietnam to Dutch Harbor when the fire occurred.

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