The Coast Guard's KBV 002 Triton, Norwegian KV Bergen, Loke Viking and a tow boat are working to extinguish the fire on 9 Dec 2021. Swedish Coast Guard Photo

Timber Fire Continues to Rage on Almirante Storni

Mike Schuler
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December 10, 2021

It’s all hands on deck to the fight the fire on board the MV Almirante Storni which continues to burn at an anchorage off Sweden.

The Swedish Coast Guard, with the help of the Norwegian Coast Guard and a fleet of private tugs, are continuing to fight the fire by spraying it with water.

The latest update said the situation remains stable, but the fire continues to burn in the stacks of timber cargo as the ship sits at anchor near the Swedish island of Vinga, near Gothenburg. A plan to bring the ship to dock is still being considered.

Over the last 48 hours, the firefighting effort has been joined by the Norwegian Coast Guard vessel KV Bergen along with the AHTS Loke Viking, which is contracted by the shipowner.

Weather does appear to be improving compared to earlier in the week and is expected to cooperate. Together with more water being put on the fire, there seems to be a “slight improvement” in the fire fighting, the Coast Guard said.

“My assessment is that since such resources are required over such a long period of time, without still being able to extinguish the fire, we are approaching the situation where a rescue must take place,” said Fredrik Hallerström, who is leading the rescue on behalf of the Coast Guard.

“There are many actors involved and extensive cooperation is required, on several levels. The situation remains worrying. Now the weather is permissive for a change,” Hallerström said.

Police have conducted another overflight while, on Saturday, a drone equipped with thermal cameras will survey the fire which should help decide how the rescue proceeds. The goal is to gain control of the fire and take the ship to a designated berth where the fire can be extinguished.

Meanwhile, today’s update from the Swedish Coast Guard says a preliminary investigation is being led by prosecutors with initial interrogations, conducted by the Coast Guard, taking place on board the ship.

All crew members remain on board the vessel along with members from the Coast Guard and rescue service. No injuries have been reported.

The fire on board broke out above deck in the ship’s cargo of timber on Saturday at around 3 p.m. local time. The vessel remains functional but limited in capacity.

The Coast Guard says the ultimate goal is to extinguish the fire while limiting pollution and the possibility of an oil spill. It was reported earlier that there are 600 tonnes of fuel on board.

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