Fire Aboard Container Ship MOL Charisma Off Sri Lanka

MOL Charisma
MOL Charisma, 2015 (file image courtesy Buonasera)

Published Sep 4, 2020 9:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

On September 1, the boxship MOL Charisma suffered a cargo hold fire off Sri Lanka, and the crew has brought it under control.

According to Hapag-Lloyd, a partner in THE Alliance with MOL/NYK/K-Line's Ocean Network Express, MOL Charisma experienced a fire in her number five cargo hold while she was under way some 250 miles to the east of Sri Lanka. At the time of the incident she was headed from Port Klang to Nhava Sheva. 

The crew brought the blaze under control by discharging CO2 into the hold, and the vessel diverted to Colombo for an inspection. All personnel are unharmed and there is no pollution reported, according to Hapag-Lloyd. The carrier is evaluating any possible impact on vessel and cargo operations and berthing dates for the next ports in the vessel's rotation.

After completing this rotation, MOL Charisma was slated to deploy on the Hapag-Lloyd Indamex service between the Indian Subcontinent and the U.S. East Coast. The Indamex voyage will instead be carried out by the MOL Courage.

Marine insurers have called for action on container ship fires after a string of casualties last year, including the blazes aboard the Yantian Express, APL Vancouver, Grande America, E.R. Kobe and KMTC Hong Kong. Mis-declaration and non-declaration of cargo is the root cause behind many of these incidents, but IUMI has also called for improvements in shipboard fire systems. "There is agreement among experts that the current means of controlling a fire in the cargo hold are of little effect. The safety objectives set out in SOLAS do not seem to be met, and in light of the various recent casualties the time for action is now," said Helle Hammer, chair of IUMI's fire policy forum in a statement last year.