This Article is From Sep 10, 2012

Fire breaks out on ship off Mumbai coast; chemical cargo on board

Mumbai: A major fire broke out on merchant vessel MV Amsterdam Bridge off the coast of Mumbai this afternoon. The 54,405 ton vessel is carrying chemical cargo which is hazardous and noxious in nature; if released into marine environment, it will have detrimental effect on human and marine life.

The Coast Guard received the first SOS call at 5.15 pm from the captain of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo vessel, following which two Coast Guard ships - Samudra Prahari and Subhadra Kumari Chouhan - were pressed into action. The crew was rescued immediately.

However, when these two ships could not contain the fire, two more ships - Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Sankalp and ICGS Sangram - were roped in, along with an emergency towing vehicle.

At around 8 PM, the fire was almost contained, but resurrected because of the chemical nature of the cargo. Then, another ship was called in to help put out the blaze.

Officials suspect that the fire erupted somewhere near the engine room of the vessel. By late evening, the middle portion of the vessel had also caught fire.

The vessel had reached the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust at the wee hours of September 8 and was en route to Sri Lanka. It was supposed to reach Colombo on Tuesday.

(With PTI inputs)