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  25 Oct 2021, 09:56

Burning cargo ship spews toxic gas off Canada's Pacific coast

MONTREAL, Oct 25, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - The Canadian coast guard has evacuated
16 people from a burning container ship that is expelling toxic gas off
Canada's Pacific coast, but there is "no safety risk" to those on shore,
authorities said Sunday.

  The Zim Kingston is anchored off the city of Victoria in British Columbia,
in the Strait of Juan de Fuca which marks the maritime border between Canada
and the United States, according to the marine tracking site MarineTraffic.

  It had been bound for Vancouver when the flames erupted, with the fire
reported to the coast guard at around 11:00 pm local time Saturday, CBC News
reported.

  "The ship is on fire and expelling toxic gas," the Canadian coast guard
said in a navigational warning on its website.

  Later a statement on the coast guard's Twitter account said 16 people had
been evacuated from the Zim Kingston "after a fire broke out in ten
containers."

  "The fire remains a dynamic event and an Incident Command Post has been set
up to manage the situation, the statement early Sunday said, adding that
responders were mobilizing to fight the fire and recover containers that
broke away from the ship Friday.

  "Currently there is no safety risk to people on shore, however the
situation will continue to be monitored," the tweet said.

  On Sunday the Coast Guard said an emergency zone around the ship had been
expanded to two nautical miles, up from one mile the day before.

  "Due to the nature of chemicals onboard the container ship, applying water
directly to the fire is not an option," it said, adding that a tugboat had
instead sprayed cold water on the hull.

  Later, however, the vessel's manager Danaos Shipping said in a statement
that the incident was caused by "excessive listing due to extreme weather,"
and indicated the fire was contained.

  "No injuries were reported. The fire appears to have been contained and
DANAOS have commissioned a Salvage & Fire Extinguishing Agency to come on
board in order to ensure that conditions are appropriate for the safe return
of the vessel's crew," the company added.

  The coast guard said the ship is carrying more than 52,000 kilograms
(115,000 pounds) of chemicals located in two of the containers that are on
fire, according to CBC News.

 

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