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Fire on Zim Kingston under control, chemicals in overboard containers cause environmental concerns

According to Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson Mariah McCooey on Monday, the containers that were burning on the boxship Zim Kingston “are now just sort of smouldering. There’s certainly no more open flames visible on the ship.” A statement from Zim notes that, “Firefighting tugboats continue to operate to prevent renewed flareups.”

McCooey also said that the number of containers damaged by the fire is unknown until Resolve Marine Group can get on the ship to undertake an examination. “There’s been delays due to weather, but they should be on board this evening,” she said.

Once an assessment of the vessel and cargo is done, the ship will head to either Vancouver or Nanaimo to offload containers. A closer inspection of damages will then be conducted, according to Zim.

The 40 containers that went overboard continue to be monitored by the Coast Guard. They have been drifting northwest, about 12 NM off the coast of Vancouver Island. Efforts to retrieve the containers have been prevented by stormy weather in the area.

The province of British Columbia has so far reported no environmental damage, but there is concern about the potassium amylxanthate carried in a couple of the overboard containers. Heather Buckley, an engineering professor and chemist at the University of Victoria, said potassium amylxanthate “has the potential, on exposure to water, to react and form a flammable gas.”

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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