APL Austria fire finally extinguished

After three full days of action, firefighters yesterday finally put out the blaze on the APL Austria containership at the port of Ngqura in South Africa. Local media says some containers are still smouldering. The 300 m long boxship called at the port on Monday following a distress call.

The cargo hold was doused with so much water that the water depth inside reached a height of 12 m – equivalent to four containers.

An international hazardous fire expert from London, and five fire technicians from Austria were flown in earlier this week to assess the damage.

The ship’s structure remains intact as the fire was confined to only one section of its hull.

The local port authority has said that both the mop-up and salvage operations would continue all week.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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