"The flames have been contained but not extinguished. A thick plume of smoke continues to emanate from the vessel and fire-fighting as well as cooling operations are on," officials said. The ship, carrying hazardous cargo, caught fire near the Prongs Reef Lighthouse in South Mumbai yesterday.
"It is learnt that 24 containers out of the 112 on board the vessel contained 45 tonnes of dangerous cargo," they said, adding some containers seemed to carry petrol, turpentine and some inflammable gas. Coast Guard officials said that they have not witnessed any oil spill so far even though the ship fuel tank contained 2,600 tonnes of heavy fuel.
The cause of the blaze is not yet known but the actual seat of the fire has been localised in hold number three of the vessel, officials said.
Apart from four Indian Coast Guard ships -- ICGS Samudra Prahari, ICGS Subhadra Kumari Chouhan, ICGS Sankalp, ICGS Sangram -- two Indian naval vessels, two Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) fire-fighting tugs and five ONGC tugs are assisting the Coast Guard in containing the fire. It is only after extinguishing the fire that the estimate of the damage can be evaluated, officials said.
The crew of the 54,405 tonne vessel is safe, they said.
According to Coast Guard, the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged merchant vessel had anchored at the inner anchorage after discharging cargo at Nava Sheva, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) on Friday. It left for Colombo after loading containers and was supposed to reach the Sri Lankan capital tomorrow.