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Fire Aboard Grimaldi Conro Contained to One Deck

Published Jul 9, 2023 4:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The fire aboard the conro Grande Costa D’Avorio at the port of Newark, New Jersey has been contained, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. As of Saturday afternoon, the fire is confined to the 11th deck, and the end is in sight. 

“We have made considerable progress overnight,” said Capt. Zeita Merchant, the federal on-scene coordinator. “There is still significant work to do, and challenges ahead as we get closer to an end state, but the ability for agencies at all levels to work together in our response is a testament to our shared commitment."

As of Sunday, the 11th deck was being monitored and overhauled to deal with any remaining heat sources. 

Responders are also pumping out the water from firefighting to ensure the ship's stability. This is proceeding well, and the response command is keeping the ship at a slight list of one to two degrees to assist with the pump-out process. 

Air monitoring sensors have been deployed in nearby areas on shore, and the range from the ship was expanded over the weekend. No pollutants above hazardous levels have been detected since the monitoring began on July 6. 

Water samples near the ship have been taken and are at a lab for testing. The results are expected early next week. While there are no signs of oil and no visible sheen, there is enough soot in the water that it is discolored, the Coast Guard said. 

In addition to the two firefighters who were killed at the outset of the blaze, two Newark Fire captains were injured in the response and were treated at a local hospital. They have been released and are recovering, according to Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé. “The Newark Fire captain who suffered burns from water accumulated on the cargo ship’s floor is reportedly in stable condition and will complete his recovery at home,” Fragé added.

Port Newark Channel has been closed for safety from Berth 18 inward, but the Port of New York and New Jersey remains open and unaffected. 

Once the immediate emergency response is completed, a formal investigation will be launched  to identify what caused the fire and the two fatalities. Multiple agencies and the shipowner are involved in the inquiry.