Cape Town firefighters save burning container ship off coast
Using a 10m rope ladder and amid large swells, the firefighters climbed on board the container ship with their gear
Cape Town firefighters have extinguished a blaze that raged for days in the hold of a 54,000-tonne container ship on its way to Hong Kong.
The captain sealed the affected compartment when the fire started at sea and headed for Cape Town.
“As the fire was not under control, the ship was refused entry [to the harbour] and remained anchored in the bay,” Cape Town safety and security member of the mayoral committe JP Smith said.
“The City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue department assembled a 10-man crew with basic firefighting gear, breathing apparatus and thermal imaging cameras [and] ferried [them] to the burning vessel [on Tuesday].
The firefighters moved close to the source of the blaze inside the 215m vessel and pumped water into the affected compartment, resealed it and retreated.
“Using a 10m rope ladder and amid large swells, they climbed on board the container ship with their gear.
“As the water reached the heat source, this quickly turned into steam. When it was confirmed the internal temperature had decreased significantly on Thursday, the harbour master gave the nod for the distressed vessel to be allowed entry into the harbour.”
With a full contingent of firefighting appliances waiting, the vessel docked and firefighters boarded the ship.
“Using aerial firefighting appliances, members used a concentrated mixture of compressed foam to extinguish the blaze,” said Smith.
Firefighting efforts continued overnight and the blaze was extinguished by Friday.
“One of the firefighters suffered severe smoke inhalation at sea and was taken to Christian Barnard Hospital. While now in a stable condition, the member remains in medical care.”
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