** I have sticky’d this post to the top of the front page, and will continue with chronological updates. New posts will appear below this.
The container ship Yantain Express, suffered a container fire yesterday. Efforts to fight the fire were reportedly suspended due to weather.
The ship is a regular caller to Halifax on the EC5 Service and was due today at Fairview cove. That arrival has since been delayed. Hapag lloyd issued the following statement
The crew of 8 officers and 15 seafarers is unharmed. Efforts to extinguish the fire in the containers were launched immediately but have had to be suspended for the time being due to a significant deterioration of weather conditions.
The 7,510 TEU vessel, which is 320 meters long and sails under German flag in the East Coast Loop 5 (EC5) service, was built in 2002 and was on its way from Colombo to Halifax via the Suez Canal. At present, the ship is approximately 650 nautical miles off the coast of Canada.
It is still too early to make a precise estimate of any damage to the vessel or its cargo. Hapag-Lloyd is closely cooperating with all relevant authorities.
Updates will Follow as they are known
UPDATE Jan 4, 1449:
SAR responsibility is with the USCG 5th District (Mid Atlantic) out of Virginia. Awaiting updates from Marlant PAO and USCG 5th PAO.
the last Halifax container fire was in 2001 aboard the 3800TEU Kitano
USCG 5th District PAO informed me that they were notified of the situation this morning, with the ship approximately 980nm South East of Cape Cod. The USCG watch-standers are monitoring the situation at this time. there is a Good Samaritan vessel on Scene, but no other response at this time.
questions were raised about the authenticity of the above photo. nothing can be confirmed, however there look to be several orange Hapag-Lloyd Containers, and several magenta ONE containers, which suggests a recent photo from a ship operating for the Alliance.
Word is the tug Smit Nicobar is on scene to assist with firefighting, and the BigLift vessel Happy Ranger responded to the initial call and is standing by.
Update Jan 5, 0920:
Hapag-Lloyd spokes person Tim Seifert told me that overnight conditions were still to dangerous for firefighting to continue, and they are waiting on improved weather. the tug did arrive on scene to assist. he was unable to confirm if the photo above is real.
the supply vessel Maersk Mobiliser has sailed from St. Johns NF to respond. The ship is giving an eta of 4am, Monday the 7th to arrive on scene.
UPDATE Jan 6, 1200:
12 of the crew have been transferred to the Smit Nicobar, the remainder will be taken off the ship. the Maersk Mobiliser is planning to tow the the ship to Halifax. Weather has improved, and firefighting from the Smit Nicobar is underway.
the remainder of the crew has been safely removed to the Smit Nicobar. Hapag Llyod reports all crew are unharmed. Firefighting efforts from the tug are ongoing. the ship is now reported to be 800NM off Nova Scotia.
Update Jan 7, 1000:
Maersk Mobiliser encountered heavy weather, and has not reached the ship yet, but is about 80nm away. Hapag-Lloyd has stated that the fire is not under control and has intensified at times. The USCG reports that firefighting is continuing today. The Happy Ranger departed after the arrival of the Smit Nicobar.
The crew of Yantian Express were evacuated on Sunday due to fire. Watch the video below that shows the track of the rescue and towing operations.— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) January 7, 2019
Learn more here: https://t.co/fHINoPKeo9 #MarineTraffic #YantianExpress #rescue #shipping #maritime pic.twitter.com/84BfF3YnWO
Minor Update – this is now the 5th most popular post of all time.
Maersk Mobiliser has arrived on scene, and will assist with firefighting efforts before towing the Yantain Express to Halifax.
the Halifax Employers Association is giving an ETA of the 18:00 on the 16th for the Arrival of Yantain Express. this is probably an optimistic estimate. The tow at a max speed of 5 knots will take about 10Days.
UPDATE Jan 8, 0956:
USCG is reporting that the fire is still burning, with firefighting efforts continuing on and off last night.
Fire is still burning, Yantain Express is now drifting further from Halifax- now over 1112 nautical miles away.
This has to now be a significant fire. possibly spread to multiple stacks, or into the holds below deck.
The photos below Show what the spacing is like between stacks. Not an ideal place to fight a fire.
Note the Open hold on the right in the photo below.
UPDATE Jan 9 0835:
the tugs are making progress however smoke is still pouring out of the ship according to a Canadian Press Report. the firefighting is taking place under the Direction of Smit, who have likely been hired on as salvors.
UPDATE Jan 10 1000:
Yantain Express looks to be under tow. its now heading towards Halifax at 1.5kn. The HEA is currently showing an eta of the 20th.
Hapag-Lloyd has released a statement. Wednesday evening the fire was brought under control and is contained. 5 crew were transferred from the Smit Nicobar back to the Yantain express, and the ship was brought under tow by the Maersk Mobiliser, bound for Halifax. a third tug has been dispatched, with an eta of the 13th
We now have a Damage Report From Hapag-Lloyd:
Further to our CustomerInfo of January 7, 2019 we would like to provide you with following status update:
Based on the currently available information, we have to assume that all cargo in Bay 12 on deck and forward is directly affected by the fire, also all cargo in Hold 1 (Bay 1 to 9). Further, we have to expect that all cargo in Hold 2 (Bay 11 to 17) is affected by fire, smoke and / or damage caused by firefighting water. Damage caused by smoke, heat and / or firefighting water in adjacent areas is possible.
All Reefers in Bay 1 to 24 are without power and switched off. All other Bays with Reefers are continuously supplied with power and in operation.
Each stack has 3 number assigned to it. Odd numbers are for 20′ containers, and evens are for 40′ containers. essentially this is suggesting that all cargo in the first 8 stacks is effected.
UPDATE Jan 14 1000:
latest from CBC’s Brett Ruskin. I talked to him on Friday. Also Latest position.
UPDATE: The fire aboard the #YantianExpress likely damaged 400+ containers, according to shipping experts.— Brett Ruskin (@Brett_CBC) January 14, 2019
– ship is still 2,000 km from Halifax
– uncertainty about which port it will be towed to
– fire “under control” but firefighting efforts still underway, company says. pic.twitter.com/9N3RIX33pO
I have been told that Hapag-Lloyd is sending a vessel direct to Halifax. Over the weekend the Tug Atlantic Enterprise arrived at pier 9. Owned by Donjon Marine of New Jersey, they work in a joint venture with Smit providing salvage services. it is assumed to be here as part of the salvage effort.
Shanghai trader sailed from Bremerhaven on the the 12th. Hapag Llyod shows it calling on the EC5 service with stops in Halifax and New York. due to arrive on the 18th, according to marine traffic. this will likely move undamaged cargo from the ship. the ship is rated at 5047Teu, and was built in 2005. Owned by Lomar Shipping, this is likely an available vessel for charter.
The tug Atlantic Enterprise is due to Sail at 9am tomorrow – its currently giving its destination as New Jersey. It arrived from New York.
the tug Sovereign sailed from Rotterdam with an eta of the 15th. vessel track suggests firefighting efforts have resumed, as weather is reported to be good. The tug is owned by Boskallis – smit’s parent company.
UPDATE Jan 15 0750:
The Horizon Star sailed around 6am from Halifax giving Yantain Express as her destination. I have reached out to Horizon Maritime for comment on the tasking.
TC has received a request for a place of refuge from the salvers.
Position as of noon Atlantic.
due to the length of this post, i have unsticked it from the front page, and replaced it with a link.
The Horizon Star is apparently bringing a salvage team and supplies to the incident.
The Philippine embassy in Ottawa released a statement:
“All 17 Filipino seafarers on board the Yantian Express have arrived safely in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 14 January 2019, after they were evacuated from the burning container ship. Philippine Honorary Vice Consul in Halifax Ms. Elizabeth Eustaquio-Domondon reported that the seafarers were in high spirits and were being assisted by their fleet manager to arrange their return to the Philippines. The Filipino community in Halifax also met the seafarers and provided them with food and other necessities.”
The Tug Atlantic enterprise appears to have sailed out towards the Yantain express, and likely brought the crew back to Halifax. Its unclear how the Crew were transferred from the Smit Nicobar, as the two ships remained about 600km apart.
UPDATE Jan 16 11:50:
G-captain has photos from a crew member of a ship that passed 3 miles from the Yantain Express. the photos were taken yesterday, and smoke is still rising. for the bow of the ship.
It looks as though the center of the stacks have collapsed and at least 3, if not 4 are significantly damaged. More photos are available at gCaptain
CBC was also provided the photos form the same source.
Smit Nicobar has sailed for Mexico, which was where it was headed before it responded to the fire. Horizon Explorer is still on route. No word on the Sovereign, which was sailing form Rotterdam. Maersk Mobiliser is in front, so the tow may have resumed at a speed of 2 knots.
UPDATE Jan 17, 0947:
the tug Sovereign has arrived on scene. the Ship may be under tow again, based on speeds and tug position.