Firefighters planned to reboard the MSC Flaminia to attack remaining fires as the stricken container ship moved within 170 nautical miles of the U.K. coast, owner Reederei NSB said.
The ship and three accompanying tugs were moving at a four-knot speed, the company said. The vessel was reported listing by 11 degrees because of damaged cargo and water poured on the fire.
After the prevailing fog of the last days lifted, firefighters Wednesday reboarded the ship, but intense heat prevented a close inspection of cargo holds. The ship’s firefighting system, reactivated earlier this week, was switched off.
“Overall, the situation onboard MSC Flaminia has improved,” the company said on its Web site. “The emission of smoke from cargo holds 4 and 5 has declined significantly. Nevertheless, hot spots inside of individual containers should still be reckoned with.”
The company said it was unclear when firefighters could begin inspecting individual containers to eliminate any smoldering fires.
British authorities are expected to decide within the next few days on granting permission for the ship to enter a sheltered coastal area.
The ship caught fire July 14 in the mid-Atlantic, approximately 1,000 miles from land, en route from Charleston to Antwerp.
One crewmember died from burns, a second seaman is missing and three remain hospitalized. Eighteen crewmembers and two passengers escaped injury.
The MSC Flaminia, an 11-year-old ship with capacity of 6,732 20-foot-equivalent units, reportedly was carrying 2,876 containers.
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