Crew on board a container vessel were forced to abandon their ship after an explosion and subsequent fire in a cargo hold mid Atlantic.
At 10:07 Falmouth Coastguard received the relayed mayday broadcast from the German registered MSC Flaminia reporting that the crew on board had abandoned the vessel.
Falmouth Coastguard broadcast an alert to all vessels in the area and the nearest vessel which could provide assistance was the oil tanker DS Crown which immediately changed course to intercept the MSC Flaminia. Six other merchant vessels also proceeded to the location to help with the search and rescue operation but were more than six hours from the location. Rescue helicopters do not have the endurance required to attend an incident of this nature because the vessel is approximately 1,000 miles from land mid way between the UK and Canada.
DS Crown arrived on scene to confirm that the MSC Flaminia was still burning and recovered 24 people from a lifeboat and a liferaft. Four crew had suffered injuries. The injured crew have been transferred to the vessel MSC Stella which will take them to the Azores. One crew member is missing.
The MSC Flaminia is a large container vessel of 75,590 gross tonnage and had 25 people on board. Crew of the MSC Flaminia include German, Polish and Filipino nationals. Weather conditions on scene were winds force 3-4 with a one metre swell.
Due to arrive at Felixstowe
|19/07/12 03:00||Msc Flaminia Trinity Terminal|
Two fire-fighting tugs are on passage but are not expected until late Tuesday.
The fire started in Number 4 hold and I have heard unofficially that the cause just might be Calcium Hypochlorite which carries the great known risk of self combustion. Apparently, it has been the most common form of fire on box ships over the past decades!
Currently, she is dead in the water with a huge pall of smoke rising from her which can be seen for many miles.
One of the injured crew who was rescued and on route to the Azores, has since died of his/her wounds. There were also two fare paying passengers on board counted in the total of 25 POB. Five German, three Polish, thirteen Phillapino and two fare paying passengers.