Stricken Container Ship to Shelter in German Waters
UK & France maritime safety authorities to send team of experts to inspect German-flagged 'MSC Flaminia' prior to English Channel transit.
A fire and subsequent explosion on July 14, 2012, occurred during MSC FLAMINIA’s passage from Charleston/USA to Bremerhaven (via Antwerp and Felixstowe), one seafarer died and one is still missing. A third seafarer remains in critical condition and is being treated for burns. The crew abandoned the burning vessel and were rescued by another merchant ship.
The ship managers report as follows:
Under the coordination of the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, MSC FLAMINIA will be towed to sheltered anchorage in German waters. Subsequently, the vessel will be transferred to a port. While anchoring, experts (firefighters, chemists and engineers) will determine which hazards might emanate from the vessel and its cargo. Only afterwards a decision to which port the vessel will be towed, can be made.
A first observation of vessel and cargo will be conducted by British, Dutch and French experts on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency once MSC FLAMINIA approaches the vicinity of the English Channel on the coming weekend.
“We are glad that after the assignment to the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, the salvage of our MSC FLAMINIA is finally proceeding. To us this indicates that our company’s philosophy is right and the German flag pays off”, Helmut Ponath, CEO of Reederei NSB, said on a joint press conference in Bremerhaven.
MSC FLAMINIA and its accompanying group of tugs are currently located approximately 350 nautical miles off the entrance to the English Channel. MSC FLAMINIA is expected to reach a so-called sheltered area in German territorial waters in the week after the next. The German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies estimates that the complete salvage operation will take up to two months.