Fire on COSCO containership traced to misdeclared lithium battery cargo

COSCO Pacific (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/BriYYZ)

A recent fire incident aboard the containership COSCO Pacific had originated from a misdeclared cargo of lithium batteries, China COSCO Shipping Corporation said in a statement.

The company confirmed that Taiwan-based Wan Hai Lines, which owned the cargo, had instead declared the contents of three containers as “spare parts and accessories” under the bill of lading. The cargo had earlier been loaded at the Port of Nansha in Guangzhou province.

On Saturday, January 4, a blaze ignited in one of the Wan Hai-owned containers while COSCO Pacific was en route to Nhava Sheva, India, after having left Port Klang in Malaysia. The fire ended up damaging the three containers from Wan Hai plus several other nearby containers before the crew were finally able to extinguish it using the installed CO2 suppressing equipment in the vessel’s cargo hold.

No injuries have been reported.

COSCO Pacific, which was still able to sail under its own power, was diverted to Colombo, Sri Lanka, to undergo a thorough assessment before it will be allowed to resume its voyage to Nhava Sheva.

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