One crew member has been killed and another 16 have been taken to hospital after a cargo ship caught fire 30 kilometers north of Ameland on Wednesday morning. The authorities are now trying to prevent the vessel, which is still on fire and has a cargo of 3,000 cars, from sinking.
According to the coast guard, a distress call came in around midnight from the Fremantle Highway, a cargo ship en route to Egypt from Germany.
The 23 crew members on board the Panamanian-flagged ship attempted to put out the fire themselves, but the blaze spread too fast. Specialised firefighters were brought in from Rotterdam but the situation had already become too dangerous by the time they arrived.
Seven of the crew jumped into the sea and were picked up by nearby ships. The remaining crew members were rescued by helicopter. It is not clear how the person who died was killed.
Boven Ameland. Nu. pic.twitter.com/DO1OK5uC61
— EMK-vissers (@EMKvissers) July 26, 2023
According to coast guard, it appears that the fire began in one of the 25 electric vehicles being transported on board the ship.
On the NOS, you can see a video of the ship burning in the distance.
The authorities are now focusing their efforts on preventing the listing ship from sinking. A tugboat from the Wadden Island water taxi service Rederij Noordgat was able to attach a rope to the Fremantle Highway and prevent it from drifting into shipping lanes.
Other boats are on standby to try to help pull the vessel to safety.
The coastguard has appealed to the owners of small planes not to try to get close to the stricken cargo ship because they could impede the rescue operation.
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