Four firefighters managed to board a general cargo ship Purple Beach that has been burning off Germany’s North Sea coast since Monday, and to position three hoses to pump sea water and flood the burning cargo holds, the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (CCME) reports.
CCME says that the smoke coming from the ship laden with fertilizers has noticeably reduced.
Around 500 m3 of water has been pumped into the holds so far, and after Germanischer Lloyd gives an all-clear, the holds will be filled with water completely.
One multipurpose vessel and one tug are on scene, as well as two helicopters.
CCME Cuxhaven established a 5-mile security zone around the vessel as a precaution should the vessel explode. There is currently no reported damage to the surrounding areas.
As World Maritime News previously reported, the 1998-built freighter Purple Beach caught fire Monday evening while carrying a load of fertilizers from the UK to Germany.
The ship’s crew immediately sealed off and activated the on board extinguishing system.
The crew reportedly initially managed to contain the fire, but not extinguish it completely, as the fire broke out again on Tuesday, emitting toxic smoke and gasses.
The crew of 22 and 14 firefighters sent to assist the vessel had been airlifted to local hospitals, with no reported injuries.
Purple Beach is currently anchored some 17 nautical miles southwest of Helgoland.
A cloud of smoke from the burning ship reached Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven, CCME reports.
The smoke is reportedly not toxic, although local residents were asked to keep their windows and doors closed. Aircraft are currently trying to push the clouds of smoke back to the sea with water sprays.
World Maritime News Staff; Images: CCME