The fire-damaged container ship MSC Flaminia has been declared safe for passage through the English Channel but is awaiting approvals from nations along the ship’s route to Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
“These permissions are expected in the next few days,” said Reederei NSB, the vessel’s owner. Until then, Smit Salvage will continue to prepare the ship to be towed through the channel.
The MSC Flaminia caught fire July 14 en route from Charleston to Europe. Two crewmembers died, and three were injured, one critically. Three cargo holds were gutted by the fire, the cause of which remains under investigation.
The ship’s owner declared general average, meaning all parties will share in losses from the accident. The MSC Flaminia is chartered to Mediterranean Shipping Co. The vessel has capacity of 6,732 20-foot-equivalent units.
While salvors worked to extinguish fires and assessed damage, the ship and its accompanying tugs have remained about 40 nautical miles off Britain’s western tip.
Reederei NSB said Germanischer Lloyd has confirmed the ship’s stability and safety for towing through the English Channel.
The vessel’s owner said the situation on board the ship continues to improve. Temperatures in the ship’s No. 7 cargo hold were 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit), and salvage workers no longer were required to employ specialized personal protection equipment aboard the vessel.
Reederei NSB said it and the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies were monitoring the condition of the ship and its cargo and that, “The prevention of harm to the population and the environment is the top priority during all further stages of the salvage.”