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Firefighters Battle Cargo Fire on Bulker Docked in Belgium

cargo fire on bulker
Firefighters are battling a stubborn cargo fire aboard a bulker in the port of Ghent (Brandweerzone Centrum)

Published Jun 24, 2022 12:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

Firefighters in Belgium are struggling to put out a stubborn cargo fire on a bulker docked at the port of Ghent. They expect the fire will burn for at least 24 hours and possibly longer while warning residents and drivers to be cautious due to the thick smoke in the area.

The bulker Lowlands Mimosa is docked at the Sifferdok in Ghent. The 63,939 dwt vessel is managed by CLdN Cobelfret and reported loaded with a cargo of scrap metal. The bulker is 655 feet long and registered in Panama.

The local fire brigade received reports of the cargo fire at around 11:00 p.m. Thursday, June 23. Arriving at the port they found large quantities of smoke billowing from the hold of the vessel blanketing the port and spreading into the surrounding area. Warnings were issued for drivers to proceed with caution on local roads as well as for residents to close their windows due to the level of smoke.

The crew of the vessel had attempted to fight the fire before calling for assistance. One crewmember was taken to a local hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. 

Firefighters reported that their work was being complicated by the position of the cargo in two holds aboard the ship. They were concerned with the vessel’s stability with a spokesperson reporting that they were pumping water on the fire but being forced to stop to pump water out of the ship’s holds as well. 

By Friday morning, the firefighters were reporting that they believed the fire was under control and they had brought in a crane to begin removing the scrap metal to the dock as part of the fire fighting effort. Two firefighters have received minor injuries and were also taken to the local hospital.