Fears of a major disaster are rising as fire rages aboard a massive container ship now drifting in the waters between the state of Washington and the British Columbian city of Victoria.
Ten containers are burning, according to the Canadian Coast Guard, which said the fire was continuing to spread, according to NBC.
Two containers are carrying around 57 tons of xanthates, a chemical used in mining.
“This is extremely concerning. The ship and containers are very close to Victoria, BC, and a big storm is forecast to hit tonight. We … are worried this may be yet another environmental disaster,” said David Boudinot, president of Surfrider Foundation Canada, an environmental group, according to Reuters.
#BreakingNews Coast Guard crews are monitoring several adrift shipping containers 43 miles west of the Straits of Juan de Fuca entrance. An inbound vessel lost approx. 40 containers when the ship listed to its side due to rough seas. Check back for updates. pic.twitter.com/GInKf8M0sB
— USCGPacificNorthwest (@USCGPacificNW) October 22, 2021
— Champ (@Champ_Vic) October 23, 2021
NBC reported that 16 members of the crew have been evacuated, while five people are left aboard to fight the fires.
A notice on the Coast Guard’s Navigational Warnings website says that “An emergency zone has been established at Constance Bank within 1 mile of the anchored container ship Zim Kingston.”
“The ship is on fire and expelling toxic gas. Two fallen containers are floating in the vicinity of the vessel,” the warning said.
— Eyes On (@jaycurrie) October 24, 2021
Roughly 40 containers fell into the sea, posing a risk to shipping — as well as possibly bursting open.
On Friday, the Zim Kingston reported it met rough weather in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a body of water that separates Washington state and Vancouver Island.
“Two of the containers have been identified as carrying spontaneous combustibles,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero said, according to the Daily Mail.
“They are currently drifting north but we can’t predict which way they will go because of the heavy weather. The bomb cyclone is around that area,” she said, referring to the massive storm predicted the area Sunday and Monday.
— Lloyd Mildon (@LloydMildon) October 24, 2021
The ship had left Busan, South Korea.
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