UPDATE: Wednesday, 2 August, 10:18
Reporting from NOS states that the fire on board the Fremantle Highway appeared to be out on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Rijskswaterstraat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management).
The ship is currently being towed toward the Dutch coast, but the ultimate destination of the ship remains to be determined.
Boskalis, the Dutch dredging and maritime services company assisting with salvaging the ship, wants the cargo freighter to be brought to the Eemshaven harbour in the province of Groningen.
The Japanese shipping company K-line, which operated the car carrier ship, has confirmed that there are 3,783 cars on board, including 498 EVs (electric vehicles).
The Leeuwarder Courant reported that the Public Prosecution Service (Openbare Ministerie, OM) had taken one suspect into custody in connection with the fire onboard, but that person has since been released. An OM spokesperson said there is no indication that the suspect committed any criminal offences, but declined to comment further. It is unclear whether the person arrested was onboard the ship at the time of the incident.
A spokesperson for the shipping company said that the captain and the ship’s pilot are still in hospital, and the rest of the crew members have been discharged. Of the 23 people on board, 21 were from India. The company has not yet divulged where the pilot and the other remaining individual are from.
Original story continues below:
The Fremantle Highway, the cargo ship that caught fire off Ameland last week, is on its way to Schiermonnikoog, RTV Noord reports today. It will temporarily be moored there, about 16 kilometers off the coast, “until the fire is extinguished.”
“The ship is not yet at Schiermonnikoog,” says Joost de Ruig of Rijkswaterstaat. “We are still about 32 kilometers away.”
On Sunday, attempts were made to tow the vessel, but that did not go as quickly as hoped, says De Ruig. “It was quite slow. We had hoped it would go a little faster. However, the weather conditions are not really favorable and safety comes first. It’s going slow, but it’s going forward.”
According to De Ruig, there is still a small chance that the ship will sink. “That’s why there are still six ships around it. Should the need arise, we will be on the scene quickly to clean up any oil spills.”
The ship is expected to arrive at its intended mooring point on Monday. De Ruig continues: “It’s in a better position than it was off Terschelling. It’s further out of the shipping lane, further away from the cables and better protected from the wind. The spot near Schiermonnikoog is more sheltered.”
Until the fire is extinguished
The Fremantle Highway is being towed by two tugboats. “With two cables and one emergency cable. It’s really going slowly.” The spot off Schiermonnikoog, close to a UNESCO World Heritage site, is deemed the most suitable among the available options.
“We must work with the situation at hand, and this is the best spot,” De Ruig says. The ship will remain there until the fire is put out, and it becomes safe to board. After that, it will be towed to a yet-to-be-determined harbor for further assessment and repairs.