Fire aboard UASC flagship Barzan causes delays to cargo

UASC Barzan suffered a container fire at sea en-route to the UK and was diverted to Rotterdam.
UASC Barzan, the flagship of the fleet, was at sea when the fire occured.
UASC Barzan, the flagship of the fleet, was at sea when the fire occured.

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Ocean Three alliance member UASC has confirmed delays to cargo shipments aboard UASC Barzan of up to two weeks after a fire broke out aboard the line’s flagship shortly before it was due to dock at Felixstowe in the UK.

The LNG-ready 18,800-teu Barzan, one of the most advanced container ships of its kind and the largest in the UASC fleet, was 60 nautical miles off Cape Finisterre, at the north-western tip of Spain when crew discovered a fire in the number two hold in the early hours of Tuesday.

The fire was extinguished by the ship’s crew and onboard fire suppression systems and she was diverted to Rotterdam “for normal discharge operations as well as necessary inspections”, according to a statement from the line.

Barzan operates UASC’s Asia-Europe AEC1/FAL8/AEX1 service, which has Felixstowe as its first European port of call from South-east Asia, followed by calls at Rotterdam, Hamburg, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam.

She is the first of UASC’s ultra-large container carriers.

At the time of writing, she remained moored in the port of Rotterdam. UASC initially said that a new arrival date at Felixstowe would be September 16, but according to slot charter Yang Ming that appears now to have been pushed back to September 20.

UASC has been tight-lipped about the fire, declining to outline the damage done to the vessel or her cargo. It is the second fire aboard a UASC ship in recent weeks. On August 28, around 36 firefighters in Hamburg were called to a blaze in a container board the 13,500 teu Alula, which was alongside the terminal.

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