Containers on board of boxship APL Austria inflamed at Coega Anchorage in Algoa Bay off Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The fire started early in the morning on February 13, engulfing dozen of containers on the main deck amidships. At the scene of the accident were sent two tugs, which started pouring water over the flames. It was decided that the non-essential crew from the container carrier APL Austria will be evacuated due to safety reasons.

The firefighting continued several hours, but after estimating the there were no dangerous and hazardous goods affected by the flames, the ship was towed and berthed in Port Elizabeth’s Coega Industrial Development Zone. The smoke is still billowing from the ship, but firefighting from shore and tugs from the seaside and pouring water over the burning container carrier.

“Our team is assisting with the firefighting operation. We are still assessing the situation and are assisting where we can”, said the Port Elizabeth Harbour Master, Captain Brynn Adamson. “The vessel has 21 crew members of which non-essential personnel have been evacuated. Transnet National Ports Authority firefighters, as well as other members on board are assisting”, he added.

The local authorities are strictly monitoring the situation. There is no report about water pollution, but the thick smoke covered the port area. The citizens in vicinity were warned to close windows and doors to prevent smoke poisoning.

The container ship APL Austria (IMO: 9444285) is operating on Asia–West Africa Service of APL. The vessel has overall length of 293.20 m, moulded beam of 40.00 m and maximum draft of 14.00 m. The deadweight of the vessel is 72,807 DWT and the gross tonnage is 71,867 GRT. The container carrier has capacity for 6,350 TEU with 500 reefer plugs. The vessel was built in 2007 by Koyo Dockyard and driven by main engine MAN B&W 11K98MC with total output power of 84,377 hp.