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25 Crewmembers Rescued From Burning Container Ship in Red Sea

tss pearl
Image courtesy Saudi Press Agency

Published Oct 7, 2022 4:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Saudi Arabia’s Border Guard has rescued the crew of a Panamanian-flagged feeder which suffered a container fire while transiting the Red Sea.

The incident occurred on Wednesday aboard the 2,000 TEU feeder TSS Pearl. The boxship was making a transit from Jeddah to Aden when a container on deck caught fire at a position about 120 nautical miles northwest of Jizan Port. AIS data provided by Pole Star shows that she slowed to a stop at 1900 hours local time on Wednesday, and her AIS signal has not been received since. 

“Jeddah Search and Rescue Coordination Center (JMRCC) received a ship distress call 'mayday' on the exposure of a container vessel to fire. It determined its location and passed the distress call to the command and control center in Jazan region to provide the necessary support,” said Colonel Misfir Al-Qarini, a spokesperson for the Saudi Border Guard.

Images provided by the Saudi Press Agency show that the fire badly damaged the vessel’s stern and the accommodations block (above). 

The containership had 25 crewmembers of multiple nationalities on board. According to the Border Guard, they were all safely delivered to the port of Jizan for care and repatriation, and no injuries were reported.

TSS Pearl's current status is unknown. The vessel is managed by UAE-based Tehama Shipping and owned by Rafidain Shipping.

Container fires are a persistent concern for the ocean freight industry, and they often stem from improper declaration or storage of dangerous goods on board. Marine insurers view the pattern as a top issue for loss prevention efforts.