Reefer Ship Catches Fire at Port of Wilmington
A fire broke out on board a refrigerated cargo ship at the Port of Wilmington, in Delaware, late Monday evening.
The crew aboard the Dole containerized fruit carrier contacted U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay at approximately midnight, reporting that an engine fire erupted shortly after leaving port.
The vessel quickly activated its firefighting system, energizing a carbon dioxide system to flood the engine room and rob the fire of oxygen, and safely moored back to the pier. The Coast Guard dispatched a boat from Station Philadelphia to establish a safety zone, while responders from Wilmington Fire Department, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Wilmington Fire Department and New Castle Fire Department worked to ensure the fire was contained.
There were 30 people on board at the time of the incident, and no reported injuries.
“I believe three things saved the crew and prevented this fire from turning into a major incident: the crew’s immediate actions when the fire erupted, integrated safety systems, and robust partnerships across the port,” said Chief Warrant Officer Todd Wardwell, acting as the lead Federal On-Scene Coordinator Representative.
Local response agencies collaborated to contain and monitor the situation from both land and sea, all of which belong to a port salvage and marine firefighting group.
“The crew’s rapid actions, ship’s safety designs and multi-agency response to this maritime fire validated safety requirements and the value of coordinated port-wide planning efforts and exercises before a crisis event occurs,” said Capt. Jonathan Theel, Sector Delaware Bay Captain of the Port.