Hazardous cargo fire experts flown in from London and Austria to...
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Hazardous cargo fire experts flown in from London and Austria to assist with extinguishing the fire

Hazardous cargo fire experts flown in from London and Austria to assist with extinguishing the fire

15 February 2017 - 14:00 - Update: 17 February 2017 - 00:53


Specialist hazardous cargo fire experts have been flown in from London and Austria to assist with extinguishing the fire aboard a the "APL Austria" docked at the Port of Ngqura. APL has flown in a specialist hazardous cargo fire expert from London and fire technicians from Austria. Salvage operators from Cape Town have also arrived to help with the recovery and salvage of the cargo. The fire was active but under control, with firefighters still unable to get below deck where the blaze was trapped. Since Feb 13, Transnet tugboats fitted with fire-fighting equipment have been working nonstop, spraying containers on the deck of the ship with water. Flames flared up sporadically on the containers on Feb 14 and firefighters used high-pressure water hoses to drench the deck and douse the flames as clouds of smoke billowed across the port. While the exact cost of the damage was unknown, it was expected to run into millions of rand. There were a total of 3 076 containers on the ship when it caught fire. The "APL Austria" was en route to Cape Town from Reunion island. After she docked on Feb 13, the terminal was closed temporarily until the blaze was contained. The port management had reopened the terminal by Feb 14 as the fire was deemed to be under control. Actually there was no risk of pollution or even structural damage to the vessel. Additional safety measures in the event of an unforeseen incident had already been put in place. The port has experts on site and have made contingency plans in the highly unlikely event of any pollution. 70 containers – mostly those unaffected by the fire – had been off-loaded and placed on the quay in the afternoon of Feb 14, while others had been moved to another location. Some of the containers had been placed strategically to create a firebreak in an attempt to contain the blaze further. Plans were under way to remove the containers affected by the blaze – some of which were still on fire – and also place them on the quay. Those with fire damage must be opened and emptied and the content stored. The fire-fighting operation was being spearheaded by the SA Maritime Safety Authority. The cause of the fire would only be established once it had been extinguished. 

Source: VesselTracker.Com
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