Saturday, March 9, 2024

MSC Sao Paulo V fire - update #4

 The Canadian Coast Guard has declared that the fire aboard MSC Sao Paulo V is extinguished. The CCG made the announcement yesterday, March 8, and allowed all emergency resources to stand down. Two firefighting teams from the United States assisted the ship's crew and CCG in containing the fire that broke out on March 3. 

The icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has now returned to its spring ice operations on the Saguenay River and the tug l'Anse du Moulin is heading for its home port of Baie-Comeau. (The tug Grande-Baie came over from Méchins to look after tug ops in Baie-Comeau.) The two MSC ships, MSC Don Giovanni and MSC Celine  which were providing relief and catering to the crew of the MSC Sao Paulo V have also continued on their ways to Montreal and Corner Brook respectively. 

A period of 24 hours was needed to evacuate smoke and clear CO2 before crew could re-occupy the ship without breathing apparatus, so the ship remained at anchor over night.

The tug  Ocean Keith Rusby arrived from Quebec City with a generator which allowed the otherwise powerless ship to raise its anchor. Making up a line astern it then joined Ocean Taiga taking the ship in tow for Quebec City, leaving the Prince Shoal area of Tadoussac this morning, March 9. I can find no reference to whether crew have re-boarded or not.

MSC's published schedule does not show what will become of the MSC Sao Paulo V's cargo which was en route to Sines, Portugal, and Mediterranean ports. Presumably it will have to be unloaded in Montreal as there are only limited facilities in Quebec City and no container cranes. If General Average is declared the cargo may be impounded until cargo interests make their contribution to the GA fund.

It is likely that the ship's stopover in Quebec City will allow for a formal survey of damages and a Transportation and Safety Board of Canada investigation. With a ship this age (it was built in 1998) there will be the question of whether the extent of damage will make repairs prohibitive.

Arriving Halifax July 4, 2022.

Assuming the ship arrives in Quebec City this evening without incident, I don't expect a further update for some time.


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