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A fire which broke out aboard the Zim Kingston was caused by a container collapse that damaged boxes containing dangerous cargo, a spokesperson for vessel owner Danaos Shipping confirmed today.
The 4,253 teu vessel, on charter from the Greek owner, was at an anchorage awaiting a berthing slot at the port of Vancouver when a storm caused a severe list. This caused the loss of some 40 containers overboard.
However, the damage to other containers caused by the falling boxes was said to have ignited a fire.
Zim has confirmed that most of the crew were evacuated to safety, all are safe and that the fire, while not yet been extinguished, is now under control.
Canadian Coast Guard vessels are assisting and said water could not be applied directly to the boxes as they contained a chemical that is reactive with water.
A Danaos statement yesterday said: “Late at night on Friday around midnight local time, the Zim Kingston was in the Strait of Juan de Fuca awaiting to proceed to the port of Vancouver when extreme weather caused an excessive listing of the vessel resulting in the collapse of containers which were lost overboard.
“The company immediately notified the local port authorities to put out a warning to vessels in the area. The investigation of the incident was postponed until daylight when the master and the crew will be able to estimate the exact quantity of the lost overboard containers.”
Zim’s share price dropped 3.7%, to $47.65, in pre-market trade in New York, while all the benchmark futures stateside were up between 0.05% and 0.25% in early (CET) trade. At pre-market levels, Zim trades 23.2% below its record highs for the year.
Further updates on the accident are expected later today.