One killed after fire ignites on car carrier off Dutch coast
One person was killed while several others suffered varying degrees of injury after a vehicle carrier caught fire in the North Sea off the Netherlands’ northern coast on Wednesday, July 26.
The Panamanian-flagged pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) Fremantle Highway was underway some 11 nautical miles off the West Frisian Islands municipality of Ameland when a blaze ignited in one of its vehicle decks at around 00:30 local time on Wednesday.
The crew had attempted to extinguish the flames using the vessel’s own firefighting equipment but were unsuccessful. This then prompted Netherlands Coastguard officials to advise the captain to issue the order to abandon ship.
Some of the crew jumped into the water to escape the blaze as it spread through the ship. Others instead remained on board until they were finally evacuated by helicopter.
Sixteen of the survivors had suffered respiratory problems and were later brought to hospital.
The coastguard said one crewmember who took part in the unsuccessful firefighting effort died before he could be evacuated. However, officials have not yet provided details on the actual cause of this individual’s death.
The ship’s 23 crewmembers, including the lone fatality, have all been identified as Indian nationals.
Dutch media reported that the fire on Fremantle Highway was still raging as of 13:00 on Wednesday. The ship has also developed a list, though it has ceased drifting.
The coastguard, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat), and a number of private contractors have already started formulating plans for the possible salvage of the PCTC.