Bad weather forces crew to stop fighting fire aboard ship headed for Halifax

A fire was burning aboard a large container ship about 1,200 kilometres off Canada’s east coast on Friday, but the crew suspended fighting the blaze because of worsening weather.

The international shipping company Hapag-Lloyd issued a statement saying the 320-metre Yantian Express was en route to Halifax on Thursday when a fire started inside a container on the ship’s deck.

The company, based in Hamburg, Germany, said no one among the ship’s crew was injured, but the fire had spread to other containers — though the extent of damage remained unclear.

There were eight officers and 15 seafarers aboard the Yantian Express, which was built in 2002 and is capable of carrying 7,510 standard 20-foot containers.

Hapag-Lloyd said the Yantian Express was its way from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Halifax via the Suez Canal.

A spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard in Portsmouth, Va., said coast guard officials in Boston received a call for help early Friday. At the time, the ship was 1,800 kilometres southeast of Cape Cod, Mass.

Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup said he couldn’t comment on the extent of damage to the vessel or the well-being of the crew.

However, he confirmed that a cargo ship from the Netherlands, the MV Happy Ranger, was offering assistance.

“The coast guard continues to monitor the situation and a Good Samaritan vessel is on scene at this time,” he said.

A fire is burning aboard a large container ship about 1,200 kilometres off Canada’s east coast, but the crew has suspended fighting the blaze because of worsening weather.

The international shipping company Hapag-Lloyd has issued a statement saying the 320-metre Yantian Express was en route to Halifax on Thursday when a fire started inside a container on the ship’s deck.

The company says no one among the ship’s crew has been injured, but the fire has spread to other containers — though the extent of damage remains unclear.

There are eight officers and 15 seafarers aboard the Yantian Express.

The vessel was built in 2002 and is capable of carrying 7,510 standard 20-foot containers.

Hapag-Lloyd says the ship was its way from Colombo to Halifax via the Suez Canal.

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