Icelandic Coast Guard Responds to Report of Explosion on Boxship

disabled containership towed to Iceland
EF Ava was disabled by an explosion in the engine room (Icelandic Coast Guard)

Published Oct 25, 2022 12:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Icelandic Coast Guard responded to reports of an explosion and fire aboard a Portuguese-registered containership inbound to Iceland. According to the Coast Guard, it received a call from the EF Ava, an 8,168 dwt vessel operating under charter to Eimskip at mid-day on October 24.

The Coast Guard reports it always provides a full-scale response when there are reports of a fire aboard a vessel. They dispatched two helicopters, one with the Coast Guard’s rescue team, and a second carrying five firefighters from the onshore fire brigade. In addition, the rescue ship Thor was sent to assist the containership.

The EF Ava, built in China in 2008, is a 427-foot long vessel with a capacity of 698 TEU. The vessel operates on Eimskip’s route between Northern Europe, including port calls in the UK, Netherlands, and Demark, to Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The vessel was approximately 19 nautical miles off Iceland inbound after departing Immingham in the UK on October 21.

The captain told the Coast Guard that there had been an explosion followed by smoke coming from the engine room of the EF Ava. No crew members were injured but the vessel had lost power. 

The Coast Guard teams flew to the vessel planning to board the ship to assist with a possible fire but reported that by the time they reached the ship the situation was under control. After consultation with the captain, it was determined that the helicopters and fire crews would return to Iceland.

The rescue vessel Thor reached the ship during the evening and reported good weather conditions in the area. They were able to attach a towline and expected to reach Iceland by this morning. Early on October 25, two tugboats from Reykjavik took over the tow and were able to berth the vessel at Eimskip’s facility in Reykjavik. 

Eimskip thanked the Coast Guard for its assistance and reported that a full survey of the damage to the engine compartment is underway. No cargo was damaged and it is currently being offloaded in Iceland.