Photos: Swedish Coast Guard Fights Cargo Fire on Bulker Off Gothenburg

cargo fire aboard vessel off Sweden
Fire is burning for more than two days in the timber cargo on the bulker (Swedish Coast Guard)

Published Dec 6, 2021 2:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Swedish Coast Guard believes that it has contained a fire burning in the timber cargo loaded aboard a bulker sitting outside Gothenburg harbor. Crews are however concerned about their inability to reach the heart of the fire in the tightly packed cargo as well as the potential of worsening weather conditions.

The fire was reported Saturday afternoon, December 4 aboard the 31,796 dwt bulker Almirante Storni. The Liberian-flagged, German-managed vessel, had departed the northern Swedish port of Ljunse on the Bothnia Sea north of Stockholm on December 1. The nine-year-old vessel is loaded with a cargo of timber and was sailing to Gothenburg.

The Swedish Coast Guard along with private tugboats responded to the reports of the fire burning in the forward part of the ship and began spraying water on the cargo in an effort to dampen the timber to stop the spread. The crew of 17 has remained aboard the vessel and is working with two members of the Coast Guard and trained firefighters that also boarded the vessel on Saturday. 

The vessel has been repositioned to reduce the wind from pushing the fire aft. At this point, the vessel was operational with the crew working to assist the firefighting efforts. The Coast Guard has also brought in thermal camera to identify the center of the fire and is employing a drone from the local rescue service to provide live images and heat conditions aboard the vessel.



So far, the Coast Guard reports that the fire has been contained to the cargo and they believe it has not impacted the structure of the vessel. Overnight on Saturday, they requested two helicopters from the Swedish Civil Contingences Agency. The helicopters joined the mission on Sunday dropping water on the fire but were later forced to stop their overflights due to the windy conditions. The agency said that the windy conditions were reducing the effects of the efforts to extinguish the fire and could jeopardize flight safety. The helicopters were standing by in hopes of resuming the flights on Monday.

The Coast Guard reports that it has its two largest vessels alongside and combined they can spray 5,000 cubic meters of water per hour. Three tugboats are also assisting in the efforts. 

The goal is to continue to fight the fire with the ship in its current location. At the same time, the Coast Guard said working with other agencies they are planning for contingencies. Among the scenarios they are considering lightening the fuel aboard the vessel as well as what happens if the weather significantly deteriorates. They are also planning for how the ship can eventually be moved to a pier.






Photos courtesy of Swedish Coast Guard