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Lithium-ion battery fire on cargo ship off Alaska finally extinguished after burning for days

The blaze burned in the cargo ship’s hold from Thursday to Sunday

Katie Hawkinson
Monday 01 January 2024 13:52 GMT
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The cargo vessel, pictured above by the US Coast Guard, was docked 2 miles off the Alaskan coast as responders attended to the fire
The cargo vessel, pictured above by the US Coast Guard, was docked 2 miles off the Alaskan coast as responders attended to the fire (AP)

The crew of a cargo ship off the coast of Alaska is safe after responders extinguished a lithium-ion battery fire on Sunday that burned for several days.

On Thursday morning, a cargo ship carrying lithium-ion batteries from Vietnam to San Diego, California alerted the US Coast Guard of a fire in their hold, the Associated Press reports. To prevent an explosion, the crew pumped carbon dioxide into the hold and sealed it.

The Coast Guard diverted the ship to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where the crew docked two miles off the coast to ensure the fire and any toxic gases did not affect the nearby community, the AP reports. The ship’s owners told the AP there fire did not cause any oil leaks.

No one is injured and technicians from the Salvage and Marine Firefighting team are remaining onboard to ensure another fire does not break out.

“This protected anchorage ... will allow the vessel to remain stable, minimizing risk of any re-flash of the fire as we continue our response,” Captain Chris Culpepper said in the press release, per the AP.

Capt Culpepper also said an investigation into the cause of the fire was being launched.

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