Container Ship Crew Battles Blaze Off South Africa

Published Sep 30, 2013 2:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

Update: A Port Control ships Pilot was set to be airlifted by helicopter to the ship and the ship will be moved to the Container Docks in the Port of Table Bay where they will be met by Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services who will board the ship to fight the blaze.

Earlier an NSRI rescuer, Gavin Kode, was transferred onto the ship to make an evaluation and confirmed that no crew are injured and that they are continuing to fight a fire in hold number 2.

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, who were ferried to the ship by NSRI, have not boarded the ship.


On Saturday, container ship LILAC reported a fire in one of their holds – 1 nautical mile off the Port of Table Bay in South Africa – with a total of 21 crewmembers onboard.

The ship’s captain reported that his crew was fighting to contain the fire, and that at this stage he was not declaring an emergency. A ship’s officer reported that they were fighting the blaze with Co2 fire equipment.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) deployed 4 rescue vessels, and remained close to the ship as a precautionary measure. On their arrival, light white smoke could be observed coming from the ship.

LILAC confirmed to the JOC (Joint Operations Control at the Transnet National Ports Authority) to allow an NSRI rescuer and a Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services engineer onboard the ship to make an assessment. Transnet National Ports Authority is requesting that the type of blaze be identified, any chemical fall out risk to be identified and then to assess the feasibility of having the ship brought to a mooring at Port where Fire and Rescue teams can board the ship to take over fighting the blaze and to contain the situation.

The ship is 222 meters and fully laden with containers.