On April 19, the 119 meter long, 7124 dwt tanker Usichem caught fire in the Mediterranean Sea near Rhodes, Greece. The Usichem was headed to Sudan from Turkey with 5900 tonnes of sunflower oil when a fire broke out in the engine room. The vessel’s crew quickly responded and were able to extinguish the blaze. However, the fire had damaged the engine and the tanker went adrift.
The Usichem contacted the Greek Coast Guard who dispatched a helicopter, lifeboat and patrol vessel to the scene. Rescuers stood by and monitored the situation as a tug was requested to take the tanker under tow. The following day, a tug arrived and proceeded to take the Usichem under tow. Both vessels arrived in Rhodes a few hours later. No reports of injuries or pollution released.
On April 9, the 151 meter long ro-ro passenger ferry Mutiara Persada III caught fire in the Sunda Strait near Palau Tundra Island, Indonesia. The ferry was en route to Panjang from Jakarta with 76 passengers when a fire broke out on the car deck. The crew requested assistance and attempted to put out the blaze as it spread across multiple vehicles. The passengers were mustered up to the upper deck to wait for rescue. Rescue ships arrived a short time later and assisted in extinguishing the blaze. No reports of injuries. The Mutiara Persada III was escorted back to Tanjung Priok. Reports don’t state the damage to the ferry, but multiple vehicles were destroyed.
The 366 meter long, 162,867 dwt container ship MSC Daniela caught fire in the Indian Ocean 120 miles off Colombo, Sri Lanka. The MSC Daniela was en route to Suez Canal from Singapore when a fire started in one of the containers in the aft section. The fire quickly grew and engulfed more containers. Unable to contain the blaze, the vessel changed course and proceeded to an anchorage off Colombo.
Four vessels from the Sri Lanka Navy and 2 vessels from the Indian Navy were dispatched to the scene to assist. Tugs from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority also assisted in firefighting efforts. The Sri Lankan Air Force also dispatched a helicopter with a bambi bucket to assist.
No reports of injuries. Early reports from April 5 state the fire continues to burn.
The fire was brought under control at approximately 0630 hrs local time on Wednesday 5th April.
MSC is currently in discussion with the local authorities to berth the vessel at the appropriate time. Once the ship is considered safe, an investigation into the cause of the fire will be formally initiated.
The extent of the damage and cargo losses will not be known until the vessel has safely berthed and has undergone a thorough inspection.