Bulk carrier with Cargo Fire arrives in Sweden to end the fire
Traveling at less than four knots and escorted by a fleet of coast guard vessels and tugs, the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Almirante Storni arrived at dock in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Coast Guard ended its operation by handing over responsibility to the local rescue service which will oversee efforts to extinguish the blaze.
“So far everything has gone according to plan,” said Mattias Heneborn, head of rescue at the Swedish Coast Guard. “But the footage we got of the police helicopter shows it is still burning in the cargo. Now is the time to put out the fire.
Overnight, Coast Guard vessels continued to spray the cargo to maintain the sinking of the cargo of timber which has now been burning for a week. Early Saturday morning, crews confirmed conditions remained stable and the fire had not spread, definitively confirming that work could continue to move the 31,796 dwt bulk carrier from the anchorage outside Vinga. towards the Scandiahammen area in the port of Gothenburg.
To complicate the effort to reposition the bulk carrier, the vessel was anchored but the anchor handling systems were not functioning. Just after 6 a.m., preparations for the move began, including an effort to cut the anchor chain to free the ship. At approximately 8:00 a.m., the rescue team and the Coast Guard determined the vessel was ready to begin sailing to port.
Video shot by police from a helicopter during the maneuver operation (courtesy Swedish Coast Guard)
During the trip, which lasted about two hours and forty minutes, the tugs stood by, periodically applying water to the fire. Another had a stern line attached in case of complications when maneuvering the ship. In addition, Swedish authorities ordered the closure of the channel, airways over the port and some anchorages to avoid interference with efforts to bring the bulk carrier to its berth.
Heneborn said the Coast Guard would remain on “high alert” by escorting the bulk carrier during maneuvers. “Our main mission is to prevent oil from entering the water and harming the environment.”
The rescue service had several cranes waiting at the port and before the end of the day, work began to unload the cargo of timber. They work to reach the fiery embers. Authorities said, however, that work would proceed with caution. They predicted that it could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to be sure the fire was completely extinguished.
the Amirante Storni will remain in the port until the Swedish Transport Authority approves its departure. Local prosecutors will also continue their investigation into the origins of the fire while the Swedish coastguard has announced that they will seek compensation for their efforts from the ship’s German owners.
The vessel’s relocation operation began at 6:00 a.m. local time on December 11, 2021
Timber cargo on the bulk carrier
Heat images show fire continues to burn in tightly packed cargo
The unloading of the timber cargo began once the vessel arrived at the dock
(Photos courtesy of Johan Norrman, Chief of Coast Guard Operations Department / Twitter)