24 crew rescued after ship fire off Australia’s west coast

MSC FLAMINIA on fire, at sea, 2012. Credit: Reederei NSB

A joint Australian-Japanese investigation is under way into a ship fire on board a Japanese fishing vessel off Perth, Australia on Tuesday, 16 July.

The Japanese coastguard sent an alert to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority at 7.45 am yesterday that the 479 gross tonne vessel Myojin Maru No 8 was in distress after a fire broke out onboard. Its 24 Indonesian and Japanese crew abandoned ship into life boats.

“AMSA issued a distress priority broadcast to shipping, alerting nearby vessels,” a spokesperson told SAS, “The Japan Coast Guard identified two other Japanese fishing vessels in the vicinity and contacted them directly.” In total three ships responded to the call.

Australia’s joint rescue Coordination Centre also tasked the Perth-based Challenger rescue jet aircraft to the search-and-rescue operation.

At 10.30 am local time, the Japan Coast Guard advised Australian authorities all crew had been successfully rescued after another of its fishing fleet, the FV Seifuku Maru 88 reached them, all crew were reported uninjured.

“We have no indication of what caused the fire as yet,” the AMSA spokesperson told SAS, “(We) will continue to work with the Japan Coast Guard and the vessel owners to confirm details of the vessel fire and determine any pollution and environmental impacts.”

The fire is the most recent in a spate of ship infernos to date this year, SAS has closely documented these events, which include the two Grimaldi container ro-ro vessels, Grande America and Grande Europa, the KMTC Hong Kong and the Indonesian flagged GT Mentari Selaras.

Lloyds List reported last year that almost 10% of total losses at sea in the past decade were caused by fire.