Cargo ship carrying BMWs, Mercedes still burning off the Dutch coast

  • A second towing cable was attached to the ship on Saturday, which is transporting 3,783 new vehicles, including 498 electric vehicles.
Smoke is seen from a freight ship in the North Sea, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of the Dutch island of Ameland. (AP)
Smoke is seen from a freight ship in the North Sea, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of the Dutch island of Ameland.

The cargo ship carrying thousands of new cars including BMWs, Mercedes and around 498 electric vehicles is still burning off the Dutch coast. The efforts to move the ship to a different location was delayed due to high winds blowing across the North Sea, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, AP reported.

A second towing cable was attached to the ship on Saturday, which is transporting 3,783 new vehicles, including 498 electric vehicles. The ship started from the German port of Bremerhaven to reach its destination in Singapore. The salvage teams plan to tow the stricken ship to a port but it is not yet clear where or when that will happen. "“The wind will continue to blow from the southwest for the next few days. The towing of the Fremantle Highway to the new temporary location may therefore still take several days to start," the ministry said.

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The ship caught fire on Tuesday but firefighters decided not to douse the flames with water for fear of making the nearly 200-meters ship unstable as it floats close to North Sea shipping lanes and a world-renowned migratory bird habitat.

The out of control fire on the ship has led to the death of one crew member while many others have been injured. 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.

First Published Date: 30 Jul 2023, 17:43 PM IST
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