“Cargo Vessel Catches Fire Near Dutch Coast, Tragically Claiming Life of Indian Crew Member; Blaze Poses Ongoing Risk”


A cargo vessel carrying nearly 3,000 cars caught fire off the Netherlands coast, resulting in the death of an Indian crew member and injuries to 20 others. Dutch coastguards warn that the fire could last for several days, hampering firefighting efforts. Rescue operations have been carried out to save the crew, and authorities are focusing on preventing the ship from sinking, which could cause further environmental hazards.

Ship Carrying Cars Catches Fire Off Dutch Coast, Indian Crew Member Dies; Blaze Poses Ongoing Threat
Ship Carrying Cars Catches Fire Off Dutch Coast, Indian Crew Member Dies; Blaze Poses Ongoing Threat

A cargo vessel carrying nearly 3,000 cars caught fire off the coast of the Netherlands, leading to the tragic death of an Indian crew member and injuries to 20 others. The incident occurred on Tuesday night on the 199-meter Panama-registered ship named Fremantle Highway, which was en route from Germany to Egypt. As Dutch coastguards continue to grapple with the blaze, they have issued a warning that the fire could persist for several days, presenting an ongoing threat to both the crew and the environment.

The Indian Embassy in the Netherlands confirmed the unfortunate loss of an Indian national in a social media post, expressing their deep sorrow over the incident. In addition to the fatality, 20 crew members sustained injuries during the emergency, and rescue operations were promptly launched to evacuate the vessel.

“We are deeply saddened by the incident involving Ship ‘Fremantle Highway’ in the North Sea, resulting in the death of an Indian seafarer & injuries to the crew,” the Indian Embassy tweeted on Wednesday.

Efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the crew are underway, with the embassy actively engaged in providing assistance to the affected seafarers. They are in contact with the family of the deceased crew member and are coordinating the repatriation of the mortal remains.

The remaining 20 injured crew members, who are reportedly safe and receiving medical attention, are being offered all possible assistance in cooperation with Dutch authorities and the shipping company, as stated in the embassy’s tweet.

Rescue boats and helicopters were promptly deployed to rescue the 23 crew members on board the vessel, some of whom had jumped into the water in their desperate bid to escape the raging fire. The incident took place approximately 27 kilometers north of the Dutch island, Ameland, located in the Wadden Sea—an area designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its significance for migratory birds.

Initial reports suggest that the fire may have been triggered by one of the 25 electric cars carried on board the ship, according to Dutch national broadcaster NOS.

The Dutch firefighting teams have been struggling to contain the inferno on the cargo vessel for more than 16 hours since the blaze erupted. However, due to the intense and precarious situation, firefighters are currently unable to board the vessel for firefighting operations.

As per a Dutch coastguard spokesperson, it may take hours, days, or even weeks to fully extinguish the fire, given the challenging conditions. Pouring water onto the ship could risk destabilizing it and potentially leading to a dangerous capsizing.

The ship’s distress call was made when it was approximately 30 kilometers off the coast of the Wadden Sea island of Ameland. The ship’s crew attempted to control the fire initially, but it rapidly spread beyond their control. Specialized firefighters were dispatched from Rotterdam, but by the time they reached the vessel, the situation had already become perilous.

Seven crew members took the drastic measure of jumping into the sea, where nearby ships promptly rescued them. The remaining crew members were later airlifted to safety by helicopters. The circumstances surrounding the death of the Indian crew member have not been disclosed at this time.

Currently, authorities are prioritizing efforts to prevent the stricken ship from sinking. A tugboat from the Wadden Island water taxi service Rederij Noordgat managed to secure a rope to the Fremantle Highway, preventing it from drifting into busy shipping lanes.

Additional vessels are on standby to lend assistance in pulling the vessel to safety. The situation remains critical, and authorities are working diligently to mitigate further risks and environmental hazards.

As the incident continues to unfold, the shipping company, relevant authorities, and rescue teams remain committed to resolving the crisis and ensuring the wellbeing of the crew members on board the Fremantle Highway.

Sources By Agencies

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