Saturday, July 14, 2012 -
10:20:00 PM -
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At 10:07 July 14 2012 Falmouth Coastguard received the relayed mayday broadcast from boxship MSC Flaminia reporting that the crew on board had abandoned the vessel, says Maritime and Coastguard Agency UK (MCA UK) in a press-release. Crew on board a container vessel were forced to abandon their ship after an explosion and subsequent fire in a cargo hold mid Atlantic.
Falmouth Coastguard broadcast an alert to all vessels in the area and the nearest vessel which could provide assistance was the crude oil tanker VLCC 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 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.
Comment and details of the involved vessels:
Obviously explosion took place in container or containers with flammable or combustible cargo, once again highlighting the risks caused by wrong cargo manifest issued by shippers. No doubt after this accident with tremendous financial losses there will be renewed industry demand to ensure the safety of the loaded containers and increase responsibility of the shippers. Last known big fire on board of deep ocean boxship took place in March 2006, the famous “Hyundai Fortune” accident in the Indian ocean (pics of Hyundai Fortune below) cost some $300-500 million.
MSC Flaminia last known position at 13.07.2012 17:48 was in 47 52N 30 44W. Vessel was en route from Charleston US East Coast to Antwerpen Belgium, ETA July 17.
Boxship MSC Flaminia IMO 9225615, dwt 85823, capacity 6750 TEU, built 2001, flag Germany, manager NSB NIEDERELBE SCHIFFAHRTSGES.
VLCC DS Crown (ex Front Crown) IMO 9179646, dwt 311176, built 1999, flag Bahamas, manager FRONTLINE MANAGEMENT AS. Crew presumably Russian-Ukrainian-Filipino.
Boxship MSC Stella IMO 9279989, dwt 85680, capacity 6724 TEU, built 2004, flag Panama, manager MSC MEDITERRANEAN SHIPPING CO.