Salvors unable to board burning vessel Freemantle Highway

The Fremantle Highway, owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha and chartered by K Line, was enroute from Germany to Singapore when a fire erupted onboard in the late evening on 25 July off the coast of the Netherlands.

The crew attempted to extinguish the fire but failed in their attempt and all 23 were evacuated from the vessel, so jumping overboard. One seafarer died and several were injured as a result of the fire. The Dutch coastguard said it did not know how the seafarer had lost his life.

A tugboat Hunter is maintaining an emergency line to the car carrier while and another vessel Fairplay 30 was continuing boundary cooling of the vessel. Specialists from a salvage company are onboard another tug Guardian that is also on the scene to assess the scene.

Local press report that Multraship and Boskalis, which owns SMIT, have been appointed as salvors. Boskalis and SMIT were previously appointed by Shoei Kisen Kaisha in the salvage of the Ever Given that blocked the Suez Canal for six days in 2021.

The owners of the Fremantle Highway Shoei Kisen Kaisha said that they were cooperating with parties that include the local authorities, rescuers, and ship managers Wallem to extinguish the fire but that “the situation is extremely difficult”.

The Dutch coastguard said that it was not yet possible for salvors to board the stricken vessel and that using water to try and extinguish the fire could lead to stability problems for the Fremantle Highway. The situation was described as being “stable”.

A statement from K Line said: “The owners are currently trying to extinguish the fire in cooperation with local authorities and concerned parties and they will continue to endeavour to extinguish the fire and recover the situation as soon as possible.”

The cause of the fire remains unknown, although earlier reports had pointed to a possible fire from an electric vehicle onboard.

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