Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation has issued a detailed 73-page report into the dramatic fire that ripped through Hapag-Lloyd’s Yantian Express boxship a year ago while en route to Montreal.
The accident investigators have pinpointed a box taken on in Vietnam with a misdeclared cargo as the likely source of the fire. The burnt out container was found to have coconut charcoal rather than the coconut pellets specified in the cargo documents, likely being exported to be used for shishas.
The German authorities sent an email to the forwarder and the consignee of the cargo, requesting further information on the cargo but did not receive a reply from either party.
The cube-shaped pieces can also be used for barbeques. If transported in large quantities, the investigators found the substance can ignite at a temperature of less than 50 degrees.
The fire on the 7,500 teu ship raged for many days. A total of 662 boxes were damaged of which 320 were completely destroyed in the inferno. No crew were injured during the blaze.