The last boxes on the 13,800 teu MSC Daniela which suffered a severe fire three weeks ago on April 5 are now slowly being offloaded. The ship was en route to the Suez Canal from Singapore when a fire broke out in one container on March before spreading quickly to others, forcing the master to reroute to Colombo where a combined force of Sri Lanakan and Indian vessels then spent more than 12 hours extinguishing the blaze. Some of the boxes on the deck continued to smoulder for more than two weeks after the initial fire leading Sri Lankan authorities to worry about some chemicals in the air making their way onland and harming the local population.
The giant ship has now transferred from one container termina to another in Colombo. Some of the burned units have been removed, and what remains on deck is a disorderly pile of around 100 teu.
Wires are now being used to discharge the toppled containers and it is expected that there will be a number of containers disintegrating during handling. Then under deck survey and discharge can commence and ultimately the ship can sail to a repair yard. It remains unclear how many boxes are stored below deck.
While it might never be known specifically what caused the fire, as the evidence likely went up in smoke the fire is another reminder to all shippers and container packers that errant activities place lives at risk and major disruptions to the supply chain.