Source: Wion News
As per AFP, the Dutch authorities are set to tow away a blazing cargo ship with hundreds of electric vehicles on board sitting off the country’s coast.
An electric car is said to have sparked a deadly fire on the Fremantle Highway late Tuesday, killing one member of the all-India crew.
Japan-based K Line, the ship's charter company, informed that more than 3,700 cars were on board, far more than an initial estimate of 3,000. Of them, at least 500 vehicles were electric.
The Dutch water management agency Rijkswaterstaat said in a statement that the cargo ship was in stable condition, amid rising concerns that the vessel might cause an ecological disaster.
"The cargo ship is stable at this time. The ship is also still intact below the waterline and does not tilt," the agency said.
"The temperature on board the ship has dropped sharply and the intensity of the fire and smoke development have decreased," it added.
It said that the salvage operations will begin as preparations were underway to tow the ship to an area further east.
It added that the operation could take 12 hours to get complete, under which the ship will be parked north of Schiermonnikoog island, before being taken to a port for further process.
Rijkswaterstaat said that the ship posed no threat to the environment. It also expected the towing operations to start as early as “this weekend”.
The fire had sparked fears of an ecological catastrophe on a neighboring group of islands, Terschelling and Ameland, where the blaze originated. These islands, along with the ship, are situated in the ecologically delicate Wadden Sea archipelago.
This region, encompassing the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark, holds the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site designation and is home to a diverse array of over 10,000 aquatic and terrestrial species.
Ship owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha said it was highly likely that electric cars triggered the deadly blaze but added that only investigations will reveal the actual cause.
Earlier, efforts to extinguish the fire at the Fremantle Highway were halted Thursday amid fears of the ship getting tilted due to the accumulation of water on board.