Lithium-Ion Battery Fire in Cargo Ship’s Hold Extinguished After Burning for Several Days

Lithium-Ion Battery Fire in Cargo Ship’s Hold Extinguished After Burning for Several Days


Lithium-Ion Battery Fire on Cargo Ship

The lithium-ion battery fire burned for days on a ship off the coast of Alaska.

ByThe Associated Press

December 31, 2023, 2:08 PM

Fire Extinguished by U.S. Coast Guard

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — After lithium-ion batteries burned in a large cargo ship’s hold for a number of days, the U.S. Coast Guard said late Saturday that the fire was out and directed the ship to anchor near Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Crew Safety and Firefighting Efforts

The 19 crew members of the ship, Genius Star XI, were uninjured and technicians from the Salvage and Marine Firefighting team remain onboard to ensure the fire doesn’t return, according to a Coast Guard press release.

Securing the Ship and Investigation Plans

“This protected anchorage … will allow the vessel to remain stable, minimizing risk of any re-flash of the fire as we continue our response,” Capt. Chris Culpepper said in the press release, which said an investigation into the fire’s origins will begin once response efforts wrap up.

Origins and Response to the Fire

Genius Star XI was shipping lithium-ion batteries from Vietnam to San Diego. The crew alerted the Coast Guard early Thursday morning to the fire, after pumping carbon dioxide into hold No. 1 — where the blaze began — and sealing it, fearing an explosion.

Diversion to Dutch Harbor

The Coast Guard diverted the 410-foot (125-meter) cargo ship to Dutch Harbor, one of the nation’s busiest fishing ports located in Unalaska, an Aleutian Islands community about 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

Safety Measures and Community Protection

Arriving Friday, Genius Star XI was kept 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from shore to mitigate the risks of toxic gases produced by the fire to the community and environment while responders worked to extinguish the flames, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Mike Salerno said in an email to The Associated Press.

Environmental Impact

There have been no oil leaks associated with the fire, according to the ship’s owners, Wisdom Marine Group.


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