Red Sea ship fire finally extinguished after a week

Ahram Online, Thursday 5 Sep 2013

Cause of blaze and extent of damages aboard Maersk Kampala still unknown after cargo caught fire en route to Suez Canal

Suez Canal
A Container ship crosses the Suez Canal at Port Said (Photo: Reuters)

A fire aboard a container ship south of the Suez Canal was finally extinguished on Thursday after having ravaged on-board cargo for over a week.

"The fire-fighting teams aboard the Maersk Kampala have succeeded in putting out the fire," said the international shipping company in a press release Thursday morning.

Three barges and seven tugboats belonging to Egypt's Gulf of Suez and Red Sea naval base participated in the fire-fighting effort, according to state-owned news agency MENA, along with other parties, including petroleum companies.

Weather conditions had prevented fire-fighting tugboats from getting close enough to the Maersk Kampala to put out the blaze on Friday evening and Saturday morning, Maersk had explained in a statement on Monday.

No crew members or personnel have been injured or reported missing, the company confirmed.

The cause of the fire and extent of the damages has yet to be determined, Maersk spokesman Tarek Safwat told Ahram Online. 

The vessel was headed to Spain from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia when the fire started as the ship was sailing past Ras Gharib on the Red Sea coast north of Hurghada, south of the Suez Canal.

The incident has not had a significant impact on shipping in the international waterway, according to Egyptian authorities.

"Operational planning is now the priority, including port selection, contingency planning for cargo as well as the vessel’s eventual return to service," said Maersk in its Thursday statement. 

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