9-hr fire hits cargo ship docked in Manila
A CARGO ship with a Russian crew caught fire while docked at the Manila International Container Terminal in Tondo, Manila, on Saturday.
Reports from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said smoke was first seen billowing from freight containers onboard MV Cape Moreton around 9:15 a.m.
The PCG said around 20 fire trucks of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) were sent to put out the flames, with some responders also using tugboats to approach the vessel. BFP personnel boarded the vessel and assisted the ship’s crew.
The fire reached the fourth alarm and was declared out at 5:37 p.m., according to FO2
Edilberto Cruz of the Manila Fire District.
According to an initial investigation by SFO4 John Joseph Jaligue, there was explosion inside the ship, which is manned by a Russian crew.
Cruz said it took almost nine hours to stop the fire as responders were unable to immediately penetrate the lower deck, being unfamiliar with the ship. They were even asked by the crew to show IDs first before they could get inside, he added.
The incident also showed that local firefighters were still lacking the proper equipment to deal with fires on ships, like those used by the Navy, Cruz noted.
The cause of the fire and the extent of the damage had yet to be determined as local officials were not being allowed to open the affected cargo at press time, he said.
The fire reportedly started at the cargo hold where containers loaded with sodium hydroxide were being kept, according to the PCG report.
MV Cape Moreton is owned by Cape Moreton Shipping Co. Ltd. and is operated by Hanse Bereederung GmbH.
The vessel arrived in the country around 7 p.m. on Friday. Tina G. Santos and Jodee Agoncillo
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