MSC suspects hazardous cargo misdeclaration sparked fire on giant boxship

Container giant MSC increasingly believes that a shipper misdeclaring hazardous cargo sparked the giant fire that ripped through the aft of the 13,800 teu  MSC Daniela boxship on April 5.

The ship was en route to the Suez Canal from Singapore when a fire broke out in one container on before spreading quickly to others, forcing the master to reroute to Colombo where a combined force of Sri Lankan 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 terminal to another in Colombo and the last containers are being discharged.

“Operations to unload the containers are ongoing as is the inspection to ascertain the full extent of the damage,” a spokesperson for the Swiss-headquartered line told Splash.  “At the present moment, it is not clear exactly what caused the fire.  We believe it could be due to a misdeclaration of hazardous cargo,” he added.

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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