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Fire persists on car-carrying cargo ship off Dutch coast


A fire that broke out on the car-carrying cargo ship Fremantle Highway just before midnight Tuesday continued to burn Thursday morning, according to the Netherlands’ coast guard.

The burning boat was floating in the North Sea off the Dutch coast near the Wadden Sea UNESCO world heritage site, which is important to several species of birds, aquatic mammals and fish.

The Panama-registered vessel owned by the Japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha was carrying 2,857 cars, about 25 of them electric.



The Fremantle Highway was sailing out of the German port of Bremerhaven on the way to the Suez Canal in Egypt and from there to Singapore. Efforts by crewmembers to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful.

On Wednesday, one crew member died in the blaze, with the other crew members being disembarked and evacuated. The extent of the injuries to the surviving crew members was not specified by Dutch authorities.

The Dutch coast guard said 23 crew members left the boat, 21 of whom were Indians, according to the Indian Embassy in the Netherlands.

Neither the decedent’s cause of death nor the cause of the conflagration has been determined by Dutch authorities. The coast guard posted video footage of the fire on YouTube Wednesday.

A recovery vessel has stayed connected to the Fremantle Highway in order to keep the burning boat in place. Efforts to cool the boat were halted Thursday morning, as the constant influx of water threatened the stability of the ship, the coast guard said.



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