Stricken Hapag-Lloyd containership Yantian Express will sail to Freeport, after “considerable” progress in salvage operations after a fire broke out on board on 3 January.

The 23 crew members were unhurt as flames erupted in a container on the deck of the 7,500 teu vessel.

Hapag-Lloyd today said the salvage master from salvage company Smith had made the decision to move the ship to the Bahamas.

“Once there, the recovery and assessment efforts of the cargo can proceed in a safer environment,” added the carrier. “The containership is expected to arrive in Freeport by next week.”

It will sail under its own steam, with a tug as escort, but Hapag-Lloyd stressed it was not yet possible to assess the damage to ship or cargo.

Initial efforts by the crew to bring the fire under control had been hampered by bad weather and the decision was taken for them to leave the vessel. After a week, the blaze was under control, five of the crew returned and they will take charge of its passage to the Bahamas.

The 2002-built vessel is 320 metres long and sails under the German flag in THE Alliance’s East Coast Loop 5 (EC5) service. ,This connects South-east Asia with the east coast of North America and the vessel was underway from Colombo to Halifax via the Suez Canal.

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