The Coast Guard is now taking the help of drones from the rescue service in the work with the fire-ravaged cargo ship outside Gothenburg. You have to get better control of the fire, before the ship can be towed in the fairway into the port of Gothenburg.
The text has been updated.
With undiminished strength, the Coast Guard’s largest vessels, Poseidon and Triton, together with several tugboats, have continued to spray large amounts of water over the Liberian-flagged vessel Almirante Storni.
The 177 meter long ship is still at anchor near Vinga, outside the Gothenburg archipelago.
The alarm about the fire came on Saturday afternoon. The fire has proven to be very difficult to extinguish.
Like a packed stove
The ship is loaded with wood, and it burns in tightly stacked wood stacks up on the deck – not inside the ship, better yet.
– It’s a bit like when you pack your fireplace with far too much wood. It does not really fit any oxygen, it can be difficult to ignite. But once it burns, then it gets really hot, says Mattias Lindholm, press spokesperson at the Coast Guard.
– The fire place is inside the compact load. You do not see it from the outside. Thermal cameras are needed to be able to create an image of where it is hottest, says Lindholm.
On Tuesday, specially equipped drones will help with just this.
So far, planes and helicopters have been used to view the fire from above. Now there are drones from the rescue service in Stenungsund, where they have equipment to fight fires in the petrochemical industry.
The idea is to eventually be able to tow the ship to the port of Gothenburg. But first they want to put out the fire further.
– It is the Swedish Transport Agency that decides when it is deemed safe to start a towing, says Mattias Lindholm.
Prepare the port
The Coast Guard can influence the decision if you see any major threat to the environment, such as oil leaks.
– But so far the fuel is well protected in the tanks aft of the ship, Lindholm says.
However, preparations have been made to be able to pump the oil to other vessels.
– The oil must be heated before it can be pumped, says Mattias Lindholm.
Towing a burning or glowing ship in the fairway into a harbor is not easy.
– It can affect other maritime traffic. In addition, the port area must be prepared, so that nothing happens there, Lindholm points out.
Criticism during inspection
As recently as six weeks ago, the ship was criticized for several shortcomings, including fire safety, reports SVT News.
According to an inspection certificate from the United Kingdom, ten deficiencies were found, three of which concerned fire safety. How the ongoing fire started, however, is still unknown.
The ship is still operational, and the crew of 17 people remains on board together with specially trained firefighters and a representative from the Coast Guard. With the help of a tugboat in the stern, the ship can be turned to avoid the wind direction and the smoke becoming too problematic for the people on board.