MSC Box Ship Cleared Following Explosion Near Puerto Rico

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May 24, 2012

The MSC containership idled since suffering an onboard explosion eleven days ago off the coast of Puerto Rico has been cleared to move on, the U.S. Coast Guard says.

The ship, MSC Idil, was cleared Tuesday after salvors from DonJon-Smit finalized temporary repairs to the ship’s hull.

The 900-foot container ship had suffered the explosion on May 11 approximately 60 nautical miles north of Puerto Rico while on its way to Barcelona, Spain.  The ship’s crew sprung into action and were able maintain full control of the cargo and prevent any discharges of the reported 588,000 gallons of fuel oil and 62,000 gallons of diesel onboard at the time.

The initial report indicated that the explosion occurred in the vessels #5  starboard fuel tank and was possibly caused by hot work. No injuries were reported and an investigation in the accident is ongoing.

Following the initial report the USCG and others involved showed a quick and organized response effort and sent a number of assets to the scene.

“The key to the success of this response was the combined effort from the U.S. Coast Guard, MSC, DonJon-Smit, Atlantic Diving, Borinquen Towing, and San Juan Towing,” said Lt. Kristen Preble, Sector San Juan Incident Management Division chief. “Their ability to quickly and effectively work together to address the safety of the crew, the ship, and the environment under demanding conditions was phenomenal.”

The Coast Guard adds that Panamanian-flagged MSC Idil has continued its transit to Freeport, Bahamas, where Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) will have to conduct further assessments of the ship.

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