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19 Crewmembers Rescued From Burning Bulker in Mozambique Channel

Apollo Triumph
Apollo Triumph's final AIS trackline in the Mozambique Channel, Dec. 26 (Pole Star)

Published Dec 27, 2023 3:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, a good samaritan merchant ship rescued the crew of a bulker that had caught fire in the waters of the Mozambique Channel, according to Chinese state media. 

At about 2200 hours on December 25, China's transport ministry (the parent agency of the China Maritime Search and Rescue Service) received notice that the Chinese-owned bulker Apollo Triumph had sustained a cargo hold fire about 100 nm off the coast of Mozambique. 

The Chinese SAR center coordinated a rescue operation with authorities in Mozambique, Madagascar and other nearby coastal states. The agency reached out to other nearby ships to request assistance and contacted state-owned China COSCO, the world's largest shipowner, to see if there were any Chinese owned- or operated- vessels in the vicinity. 

At about 0200 hours on December 27, the German boxship AS Christiana arrived on scene in the vicinity of the Apollo's distress call. The Christiana found all 19 crewmembers in a life raft and brought them safely on board, bringing the operation to a successful close. 

Apollo Triumph is a 12,000 freighter operated by Hong Kong shipping company HK Harvest. An inspection in Canada earlier this year found problems with means of access and steam pipes aboard the vessel.

AIS data provided by Pole Star shows that the ship's signal was last received at 1945 hours GMT on the 26th, and has not been seen since. The ship's fate has not been reported.