Salvage operation of the Purple Beach freighter off Germany has entered its fifth day today with three ships back at the scene ready to reduce the remaining cloud of smoke coming out of the cargo space.
According to Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (CCME), the water already applied to the burning areas has considerably reduced the emitting smoke.
Even though it was previously reported that the smoke was not harmful, crews on the multipurpose vessel Neuwerk will resume today testing of potentially harmful substances from the smoke.
The emergency services on site will continue filling the load compartment with seawater to put out the remaining smoke.
The position of the distressed vessel is unchanged, some 17 nautical miles southwest of Helgoland, where the vessel is anchored.
Firefighting teams responding to the fire have encountered several obstacles in their efforts as they had to halt their operation on Thursday due to a defect on one of the three hoses and a checkup on one of the filter systems.
The three ships responding to the incident, Nordergrunde, Mellum and Nordic, halted the overnight operations as the weather deteriorated, and returned to the scene this morning. The weather conditions have improved considerable, according to CCME.
The 1998-built freighter Purple Beach caught fire Monday evening while carrying a load of fertilizers from the UK to Germany.
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.
World Maritime News Staff; Images: CCME