A devastating fire, which broke out on a cargo ship approximately 30 kilometers north of Ameland, remains uncontained as of now, Dutch emergency services report. The incident resulted in one fatality and left several crew members with severe injuries. The ship, which was transporting German-produced cars, is still engulfed in flames, and authorities are closely monitoring the situation.
Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management has informed the parliament that a specialized salvage team will be flown in to assess the situation and determine the best ways of deploying a new, improved connection cable. The team will explore the possibility of towing the vessel to a suitable location for further evaluation.
The incident has gripped the attention of the residents of Ameland, who are increasingly concerned about the safety and environmental impact of the ongoing fire. Mayor Leo Pieter Stoel expressed his dismay at the apparent failure to learn from the 2019 maritime disaster, when scores of containers, some holding hazardous chemicals, fell off the MSC Zoe during a North Sea storm. As the freighter lies outside his municipality’s jurisdiction, Mayor Stoel is preparing for all scenarios, including the possibility of the vessel sinking.
Jelle Bos of Bos Marine Services in Lauwersoog is on standby and ready to assist in the ship’s recovery operation. However, the situation remains uncertain, and the salvage team realizes it has to exercise caution due to the potential risks involved. Bos explains that a vessel of this size requires careful handling and securing to prevent further damage during the recovery process.
The Dutch Coast Guard has also warned that it could take several weeks to fully extinguish the fire due to the complexity of the situation.
Authorities and salvage experts say they are taking every precaution to safeguard both the ship and the surrounding environment. The full impact of the incident is yet to be determined, and the neighboring communities remain on high alert as recovery efforts continue.
The cargo ship is carrying a total of 2857 cars, out of which 25 are electric. The Coast Guard suspects the fire started due to one of those electric vehicles. Mercedes has confirmed that at least 300 cars from their Stuttgart-based brand are on board. The identities of the other vehicles being transported remains unclear.
The freighter, en route from Bremerhaven in Germany to Egypt, remains at sea, and efforts to control the blaze are ongoing.