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ZIM Kingston on fire off the Canadian coast after losing 40 containers at sea

Shipping and Freight Resource - NewsZIM Kingston a 4253 TEU capacity container ship built in 2008 flying the Maltese flag is on fire off the coast of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. As per CBC News, 6 containers are on fire on board the ship which is said to be carrying 52,000 kg of Xanthates which are hazardous chemicals used in the mining industry. Xanthates fall under Class 4.2 of the IMDG code which is the classification for “Substances liable to spontaneous combustion” and is said to include Potassium Amylxanthate which is considered an environmental hazard.

As per the Canadian Coast Guard, they received reports from the ship about a fire that broke out in two containers on board. As per a tweet from the Canadian Coast Guard

An Emergency Zone has been set up for 1NM around the ship while fire fighting operations are underway. Currently there is no safety risk to people on shore, however the situation will continue to be monitored.” the tweet added.

As per the Canadian Coast Guard, a joint agency response is being coordinated to provide assistance while an assessment is being done to determine the pollution hazards from the containers although Xanthates is not classified as a Marine Pollutant by IMDG.

The ZIM Kingston reportedly faced rough weather West of the Strait of Juan de Fuca caused by a low pressure system that is said to have impacted the region from Thursday the 21st Oct. The hurricane force caused the sea to rise to about 9 meters, resulting in 40 containers falling in to the sea.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been monitoring around 35 containers adrift about 43 miles west of the entrance of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

zim kingston on fire off the coast of Canada - shipping and freight resource

As per Navigational Warnings (NAVWARNs) “An emergency zone has been established at Constance Bank within 1 mile of the anchored container ship Zim Kingston in the vicinity of 48 20.083N 123 21.800W. The ship is on fire and expelling toxic gas. Two fallen containers are floating in the vicinity of the vessel.

According to a spokesperson from JRCC, 16 crew members were brought to Ogden Point Pier in Victoria. Five crew members remained on board as of Saturday night to fight the fire.

zim kingston on fire off the coast of Canada - shipping and freight resource
Image : CHEK News

Although it has been a while since any maritime disaster has been reported, these incidents do continue creating issues for customers, carriers and insurance companies alike.

As per reports, the Canadian Coast Guard was working with its U.S. counterpart to track the 40 containers that had fallen overboard, saying they pose a significant risk to mariners. As of late Saturday, the containers were about 22 kilometres off the west coast of Vancouver Island, near Bamfield with high winds expected on Sunday, which could make recovery of the containers difficult.

This is extremely concerning. The ship and containers are very close to Victoria, B.C., and a big storm is forecast to hit  tonight. We are worried this may be yet another environmental disaster,” as per David Boudinot, president of Surfrider  Foundation Canada, an environmental organization talking to CBC News.

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