Ship carrying nearly 3,000 cars, including 27 EVs, catches fire in the North Sea

  • Images of the cargo ship carrying German cars taken from shore show a long plume of gray smoke coming out of it.
Smoke is seen from a freight ship in the North Sea, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of the Dutch island of Ameland, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. A fire on the freight ship Fremantle Highway, carrying nearly 3,000 cars, was burning out of control Wednesday in the North Sea. (AP/PTI Photo)
Smoke is seen from a freight ship in the North Sea, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of the Dutch island of Ameland, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. A fire on the freight ship Fremantle Highway, carrying nearly 3,000 cars, was burning out of control Wednesday in the North Sea.

A freight ship carrying nearly 3,000 cars, including 27 electric vehicles, has caught fire in the North Sea, about 27 kilometers north of the Dutch island of Ameland, AP reported. The Fremantle Highway set sail from the German port of Bremerhaven, carrying cars from brands like Mercedes and BMW, to reach its destination at the Port Said in Egypt. The out of control fire on the ship has led to the death of one crew member while many others have been injured.

Images of the ship taken from shore show a long plume of gray smoke coming out of it. The Dutch coast guard is working to save the ship from sinking close to an important habitat for migratory birds. “We hope that the fire will be under control or will die out and that we can get the vessel in a safe location," coast guard spokesperson Lea Versteeg told AP on call.

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Total 23 crew members, including the deceased person, were taken out of the ship using boats and helicopters after they were unsuccessful in putting out the blaze. Some of them jumped off the ship's deck into the sea and were picked up by a lifeboat. Some of the crew members got severely injured; they suffered broken bones, burns and breathing problems. They were immediately rushed to hospitals in the northern Netherlands, emergency services told AP.

It isn't yet clear how the ship caught fire and how did the death of the crew member occur. The presence of electric vehicles on the ship could be one of the reasons for fire but it is surely the reason that is making it difficult to stop the fire. “It's carrying cars, 2,857 of which 25 are electrical cars, which made the fire even more difficult. It's not easy to keep that kind of fire under control and even in such a vessel it's not easy," Versteeg said.

First Published Date: 27 Jul 2023, 13:23 PM IST
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