Plans are being made to tow the stricken vessel to Halifax, but the fire has not yet been extinguished.
The container shipping industry has suffered another safety blow with a vessel fire on Hapag-Lloyd’s Yantian Express. The fire was reported on January 5, and has not yet been fully contained. On January 6 the crew were evacuated in two stages to the salvage tug Smit Nicobar, which is continuing to tackle the fire. Efforts to bring the fire under control have been hampered by poor weather conditions and heavy seas.
The commercial tugboat Maersk Mobiliser is also now on the scene, and the US Coastguard advised that it plans to tow the Yantian Express to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The US Coastguard normally provides frequent updates on emergency operations via Twitter, but is no longer updating its account due to the shutdown of US Government Services at the moment.
Some concerns have been raised in Halifax about what caused the fire, and what cargo the vessel is carrying in the forward container hatches where the fire broke out, but Hapag-Lloyd has not released any details at this point.