The crew of a Cameroonian bulk carrier fled, and at least one man was forced to jump into the water, after a fire broke out on the ship while it was under repairs at a wharf in the Port of Kaohsiung, yesterday, September 13.
Kaohsiung City Fire department received reports of a fire at the Jong Shyn Shipbuilding terminal at 3:54 pm. Video footage from the scene showed fierce flames and thick black smoke emanating from the cabin and rear hold of the ship.
Some of the crew and two Taiwanese repairmen used the gangway to leave the ship, however several people were seen trapped in the stern area. One man was seen leaving the ship by clinging to a mooring rope before falling into the water.
Fortunately, there were no casualties and the crew of nine, consisting of 8 Myanmar nationals and one Chinese were reported safe and accounted for after the fire was extinguished.
A coast guard Anping-class corvette was coincidentally berthed immediately in front of the freighter. The crew of the coast guard ship used a water cannon to shoot at the burning ship. The Port of Kaohsiung Fire Brigade applied water from the dock, and from tugboats. The fire was brought under control at around 4:25 pm. However, smoldering continued from the hold of the ship for around two more hours, as the hatch could not be opened to apply water below deck.
Port authorities said that the bulk carrier Wan Lung had docked for repairs at 11:00 am on September 12. At 8:30 am the following day, a repair crew boarded the ship. The fire is suspected to have been started while crew were using an oxyacetylene torch to remove rust.
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