A Liberia-flagged container ship caught fire around midnight, July 11, some 220 miles west of the Japanese island of Kuchinoshima in the East China Sea, according to local media.
The duty officer of the fire-stricken 2,011 TEU Kamala sent out a distress signal to the Japanese Coast Guard shortly after midnight local time, July 12, reporting that the fire started in one of the containers.
Japan’s 10th Regional Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter which reached the 1999-built boxship at 05:30 am, local time. The photos taken by the crew of the helicopter show that the fire engulfed a number of containers on the ship’s upper deck.
It is yet unclear if the ship’s crew of 23, who battled the flames throughout the morning, is still onboard the vessel or have been airlifted.
There have been no reports of any injuries to the crew, mostly consisting of Thai and Indian nationals, thus far.
The reports suggest that the fire has not been subdued as of noon, local time.
Kamala was en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to South Korea’s port of Ulsan, reportedly laden with 796 containers. The vessel is owned by Liberian company Seachange Maritime.
World Maritime News Staff; Image: 10th Regional Coast Guard