Panama cargo vessel catches fire off Vietnam's southern coast

By Truong Ha   February 5, 2023 | 08:53 pm PT
Panama cargo vessel catches fire off Vietnam's southern coast
A cargo vessel registered in Panama drifts along Vietnam's southern coast in Vung Tau Town after catching fire, February 5, 2023. Photo by Vung Tau Port Authority
A Panama vessel carrying 4,530 cars from South Korea to Singapore caught fire and has been left drifting in the waters off Vung Tau.

Fire engulfed the AH SHIN vessel as it was moving along Vietnam’s south-central coast on Sunday.

The boat is currently drifting around 45 kilometers to the southeast of Vung Tau, a beach town bordering Ho Chi Minh City.

The fire started spreading out from the eighth, ninth and tenth floors of the 12-floor, 21,000-ton vessel, which is 200 meters long and 32 meters wide.

There are 21 crew members on board and all of them are Russian.

Aside from the 4,530 cars, the boat was carrying 1,356 tons of oil.

The owner of the ship has asked for help from the Vietnamese authorities.

He said the crew has used all carbon dioxin on board to extinguish the fire. By Sunday night, he said, the fire and smoke had been put under control. However, the vessel was still emitting a strong burning smell.

It has not been confirmed yet if any of the cars on board were damaged, or anyone was injured.

A Vietnamese official, who asked to remain anonymous, told VnExpress Sunday that rough seas and strong waves had prevented rescuers from approaching the AH SHIN.

According to MarineTraffic, a maritime analytics provider based in Greece, which provides real-time information on the movements of ships and the current location of ships in harbors and ports, AH SHIN is a vehicle carrier that was built in 1999 and is sailing under the flag of Panama.

She departed from the Incheon Port of South Korea on January 28, it said.

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