Container ship that burst into flames on way to Halifax now in the Bahamas

American sailor Cameron Brunick witnessed the Yantian Express fire while aboard a merchant vessel in the North Atlantic. Submitted/Cameron Brunick

A massive container ship that burst into flames on its way to Halifax is now in the Bahamas, according to the German company that owns it.

The Yantian Express has arrived at the anchorage in Freeport, the main city on Grand Bahama Island, according to Hapag Lloyd spokesman Tim Seifert.

Seifert says the vessel is awaiting clearance to enter the port, and once it does, “the recovery and assessment efforts of the cargo can proceed in a safe environment.”

The fire broke out on the ship Jan. 3 while the ship was about 1,900 kilometres southeast of Halifax.

Nobody was hurt, but the vessel’s 22 crew members had to evacuate the ship as the blaze grew and the weather turned ugly.

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The blaze was brought under control by ocean-going tugs equipped with high-powered water cannons, and has since been fully extinguished.

The original plan was to tow it to Halifax, but Seifert said on Jan. 23 that it would instead head southwest “towards more favourable weather conditions.”

Hapag Lloyd has also confirmed all cargo in the ship’s first 12 bays, and some of the cargo in the two holds beneath those bays, was affected by the fire.

But the company says it can’t make a precise estimate of the damage until the ship is in the port.

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