Containers aboard the MV Zim Kingston are on fire near Victoria. (Victoria News)

Containers aboard the MV Zim Kingston are on fire near Victoria. (Victoria News)

Blaze contained on ship anchored near Victoria

Zim Kingston had spilled cargo in rough seas earlier

VICTORIA — The fire that broke out Saturday in containers full of hazardous mining chemicals aboard a ship anchored near Victoria was reported to be suppressed but still smoldering early Sunday afternoon, Canadian Coast Guard officials said.

At one point Saturday night, the fire aboard the MV Zim Kingston engulfed 10 of the 40-foot containers.

But by 1:30 p.m. Sunday, “most of the fire is out but it’s still smoldering, said JJ Brickett, who runs the Canadian Coast Guard’s Ontario environmental response team, who referred to “heroic efforts” aboard the ship.

The strategy, given the fact that water would not put out a chemical fire, was to let it burn down while using a tugboat to spray water to keep surrounding containers and the ship’s hull cool, he said.

The Zim Kingston had lost about 40 containers in rough seas west of Neah Bay on Friday before traveling to Canada to anchor at Constance Bank, almost 5 miles from Victoria’s shore and about 17 miles from the U.S.

Fire broke out Saturday morning in two containers of a hazardous substance used in mining — xanthates, or potassium amylxanthate — which can cause severe burns.

By 10:49 p.m. Saturday, the fire had spread to 10 containers, according to the Canadian Coast Guard, in a press release.

It never spread to the ship, and no one was hurt, officials said Sunday, adding that air quality monitoring was in effect. No risk was seen to people on shore, they said.

Danaos Shipping Co., which manages the container ship, said in an emailed statement from Greece on Sunday: “No injuries were reported. The fire appears to have been contained,” The Associated Press reported.

Danaos has commissioned a salvage and fire extinguishing firm to come on board “to ensure that conditions are appropriate for the safe return of the vessel’s crew,” according to the Times Colonist.

Sixteen of the 21 crew members were evacuated to Ogden Point while five remained on board to fight the fire as the Canadian Coast Guard doubled the emergency zone around the vessel to 2 nautical miles.

The Zim Kingston owner has contracted Resolve Marine Group for salvage operations, said Michelle Imbeau, spokesperson for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Officials will conduct a full inventory of containers and contents once the fire is found to be fully extinguished, Imbeau said.

Officials said Sunday the source of ignition of the fire was unknown.

The U.S. Coast Guard is working closely with the Canadian incident command in tracking the original 40 containers that broke free from the Zim Kingston on Friday, officials said.

On Sunday, overflights spotted the containers about 22-27 miles off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

“With a significant weather event arriving Sunday, recovery of the containers may be challenging,” Imbeau, spokesperson for the Canadian Coast Guard, said in a press release.

“Both the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard continue to broadcast warnings as the containers pose a significant risk to mariners.”

The Canadian incident command post is led by the Canadian Coast Guard on behalf of the government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and First Nations representatives to manage and coordinate the multi-agency response, Imbeau said.

The U.S. Coast Guard had been notified at 1:45 p.m. Thursday that the vessel had spilled the containers near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Port Angeles helicopter crews flew over the area to track them.

The Zim Kingston had been traveling from a port in Busan, South Korea, according to MarineTraffic’s ship-tracking website. Its destination was Vancouver, authorities said.

A group of three linked shipping containers from the MV Zim Kingston were photographed when they were spotted by a Port Angeles helicopter crew on Friday. (U.S. Coast Guard)

A group of three linked shipping containers from the MV Zim Kingston were photographed when they were spotted by a Port Angeles helicopter crew on Friday. (U.S. Coast Guard)

More in News

John Brewer.
Former editor and publisher of PDN dies

John Brewer, 76, was instrumental in community

Randy Perry and Judy Reandeau Stipe, volunteer executive director of Sequim Museum & Arts, hold aloft a banner from "The Boys in the Boat" film Perry purchased and is loaning to the museum. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
‘Boys in the Boat’ banner to be loaned to museum

Sequim man purchases item shown in film at auction

Charisse Deschenes, first hired by the city of Sequim in 2014, departed this week after 10 years in various roles, including most recently deputy city manager/community and economic development director. (City of Sequim)
Deputy manager leaves Sequim

Community, economic development position open

Hoko River project seeks salmon recovery and habitat restoration

Salmon coaltion takes lead in collaboration with Makah, Lower Elwha tribes

Clallam Transit’s zero-fare program off to successful start

Ridership is up and problems are down, general manager says

Motor rider airlifted to Seattle hospital after wreck

A Gig Harbor man was airlifted to a Seattle hospital… Continue reading

Traffic light project to begin Monday

Work crews from Titan Earthwork, LLC will begin a… Continue reading

From left to right are Indigo Gould, Hazel Windstorm, Eli Hill, Stuart Dow, Mateu Yearian and Hugh Wentzel.
Port Townsend Knowledge Bowl team wins consecutive state championships

The Knowledge Bowl team from Port Townsend High School has… Continue reading

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls dirt from around the base of an orca sculpture at the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield on Thursday during site preparation to rebuild the Port Angeles play facility, which was partially destroyed by an arson fire on Dec. 20. A community build for the replacement playground is scheduled for May 15-19 with numerous volunteer slots available. Signups are available at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904084DA4AC23A5F85-47934048-dream#/. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Site preparation at Dream Playground

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls… Continue reading

Rayonier Inc. is selling more than 115,000 acres in four units across the West Olympic Peninsula last week as the company looks to sell $1 billion worth of assets. (Courtesy photo / Rayonier Inc.)
Rayonier to sell West End timberland

Plans call for debt restructuring; bids due in June