A blaze that erupted on the Malta-flagged MV Zim Kingston ship on Saturday morning has been “stabilized,” the Canadian Coast Guard announced. Containers carrying hazardous material had caught fire, sending toxic gas into the air.
The coast guard made the statement on its official Twitter account at 3pm local time, posting footage of water being sprayed onto the vessel, which had been anchored in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, near the British Columbia city of Victoria.
The fire on the #ZimKingston has been stabilized. Depending on weather tomorrow, hazardous materials firefighters will board the ship to fight any remaining fires and ensure the fire is out. pic.twitter.com/IKIhY5Ayrm
The fire having been stabilized, officials will seek to board the ship on Monday, depending on weather conditions, to ensure the blaze has been completely extinguished and all hazardous materials have been secured.
After the fire began late on Saturday, officials asked other ships to remain at least two nautical miles away from the vessel, imposing an emergency zone over concerns about the blaze “expelling toxic gas.”
“Smoke coming from the vessel is being tracked from air-quality monitoring stations around the Greater Victoria area, and local health authorities are being provided with those results,” the coast guard said, adding that nearby residents were not in danger, and nor was there a threat to local ports.
To ensure the safety of the crew, 16 people were evacuated while the blaze was being tackled, with five remaining on board to keep the ship secure. It is thought the hazardous material caught fire after “excessive listing due to extreme weather.”
With strong winds expected in the area, emergency towing vessels, tugs and the coastguard will remain on site to monitor the situation overnight.
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