Photos: Container Ship in Hamburg Harbor Still Burns

Image courtesy Feuerwehr Hamburg

By MarEx 2016-09-02 21:07:37

More than 30 hours after ignition, the fire in the hold of the container vessel CCNI Arauco continues to burn, say authorities with the Hamburg Fire Department – and efforts to combat the final remaining pockets of the blaze may continue through the weekend. 

Three attempts to extinguish the fire by filling the after hold compartment with CO2 were not successful, and in consultation with the vessel’s operator the firefighting team moved to flood the compartment with water. Responders used water supplied from shore and from the multipurpose emergency response vessel Neuwerk to partially fill the hold through the vents; the hatch covers remained in place.   

As of Friday evening, the hold was flooded as much as the vessel's stability would allow, and pumping in more water is not a possibility, the fire department said. 

"The next step is a comprehensive foam attack from the water side and the land side . . . it will be redundant so that the foam attack is not interrupted," the agency said in an online update.

The depth of the fire’s location within the hold has added complexity to the response by limiting responders’ ability to access the source. 

Emergency services personnel from other cities have joined the effort, including Bremerhaven's specially trained team of 10 marine firefighters. 

The Hamburg fire department confirmed that the 1,250 tonnes of dangerous goods on board the Arauco are located well forward and safely away from the blaze. 

Authorities believe that the blaze was started by welding work in the hold, which led to the spread of a fire belowdecks. Three workers suffered minor injuries in the fire and were taken to a hospital.