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Home News Fire on Cosco boxship causes container losses off South Africa

Fire on Cosco boxship causes container losses off South Africa

The 2013-built container ship Cosco Sao Paulo suffered fire onboard and container losses in Cape Town outer anchorage, according to several reports.

It is not clear what caused the incident, but South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) report suggests that the fire started from cargo hold number 6 and led to the fall of two containers in the sea.

The 4,253TEU boxship requested permission to anchor off the Port of Cape Town on 25 May due to the fire, while it is also reported that the vessel suffered propulsion issues resulting in the loss of containers overboard.

The crew asked wanted to anchor in a protected area to safely fight the fire , according to SAMSA, which also reported that the Hong Kong-flagged ship was escorted by a sister ship MV Xin An Ning to Cape Town.

"A first response team comprising of Salvage Master, SAMSA surveyors and City of Cape Town firefighters boarded the vessel via helicopter to complete a damage assessment and determine the safety risk that the vessel posed, after which they agreed that it was safe for the vessel to board in the port," explained SAMSA.

The fire had been contained onboard the COSCO Sao Paulo vessel berthed at the Cape Town container terminal, according to Transnet national ports authority (Transnet NPA), the managing company of the Port of Cape Town.

Port Control reported smoke billowing from the cargo hold at around 13:00 (local time, GMT+2) on Tuesday, 26 May, Transnet published on Twitter and added that a firefighting tug was deployed and hoses were rigged to fight the fire.

Although SAMSA has reported that the vessel's master had confirmed an explosion from the ship, resulting in the loss of two containers, it is still unclear how many boxes have fallen into the sea and how many have been damaged or destroyed by the fire.

According to Marine Traffic, Cosco Sao Paulo originated from the Port of Durban in South Africa and was en route to China and Hong Kong, it is currently moored at Cape Town.

Earlier in January, Container News reported the fire accident of Cosco Pacific in Sri Lanka due to misdeclared containers that included lithium batteries.

Antonis Karamalegkos

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