Bulker catches fire while in Sturgeon Bay dock for inspection

Bulker catches fire while in Sturgeon Bay dock for inspection

A vessel suffered heavy internal damage after catching fire while in dock in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on Friday evening. But early reports suggested that the cargo area and engine room escaped the worst.

Firefighters took five hours to bring under control the blaze on the US-flagged Alpena which was at Bay Shipbuilding shipyard for its five-yearly inspection. That process had been expected to take two weeks.

The 158-metre laker-type ship plies its trade carrying cement loads on all five of the Great Lakes between the US and Canada. Sturgeon Bay links to Lake Michigan by the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.

No crew members or firefighters were injured in the incident, and nor was any pollution reported in the early aftermath.

It is believed an electrical short caused the initial spark behind the conflagration but that can’t be confirmed until after an investigation.

The fire appears to have begun three decks down, just above the engine room. But it did not extend into the cargo area and the engine room seemed unharmed, according to fire services.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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