Asphalt tanker disabled after catching fire at sea

Asphalt tanker disabled after catching fire at sea

Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Strohmaier
Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Strohmaier

The US Coast Guard and Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Special Operations Command firefighters and rescue paramedics have conducted a joint safety examination of a disabled asphalt tanker after a fire broke out in its engine room while underway in the Atlantic Ocean.

Early in the morning on October 5, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, received a report that the Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO with 21 crew aboard had a fire ignite in their engine room while transiting 49 nautical miles southeast of Nantucket Island.

The ship is loaded with asphalt and was bound for New York Harbor.

The fire was extinguished using the ship’s installed carbon dioxide fire suppression system. There were no reported injuries to any crew members, and no reports of pollution. The ship’s electrical generators and main engine were disabled by the fire.

The Coast Guard Cutter Legare, an 82-metre Medium Endurance Cutter, homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia, was diverted to the area to assist the stricken vessel.

Salvage tugs were dispatched to rendezvous with Feng Huang AO and take it under tow. Towing operations towards New York began early Sunday morning with Coast Guard Sector New York personnel closely monitoring the vessel’s transit through offshore shipping lanes.

Inspection crews from Sector New York and FDNY boarded the vessel on the afternoon of October 8 to assess damage and ensure the ship’s safety prior to allowing entry into New York Harbor.

Feng Huang AO will remain in port until repairs are completed. The cause of the vessel’s fire is under investigation.

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