An Indian crew member was killed and 20 others were injured when a fire broke out on a cargo ship carrying nearly 3,000 cars off the coast of the Netherlands. The fire started night on the Fremantle Highway, a Panama-registered ship that was en route from Germany to Egypt. Several crew members were forced to jump overboard, and Dutch coastguards warned that the fire could last for several days.
The Indian Embassy in the Netherlands said that one of the crew members who died was an Indian national. The embassy is in touch with the family of the deceased and is assisting in the repatriation of the mortal remains. The embassy is also in touch with the remaining 20 injured crew members, who are safe and receiving medical attention.
Rescue boats and helicopters were used to get the 23 crew members off the ship after some had jumped in the water.
The authorities are now focusing their efforts on preventing the listing ship from sinking. A tugboat has been able to attach a rope to the Fremantle Highway and prevent it from drifting into shipping lanes. Other boats are on standby to try to help pull the vessel to safety.
The Panama-flagged cargo ship Fremantle Highway was en route to Port Said, Egypt, after a recent stop in the German port of Bremerhaven. The vessel was sailing 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of Ameland, one of the northern Wadden islands, when the fire broke out.
The ship was carrying 2,857 cars, including 25 electric vehicles. One of the EVs may have caught fire, and the blaze could last for days.
The ship's owner, Shoei Kishen Kaisa Ltd, said it was cooperating with local authorities and expressed condolences for the crew member whose life was lost. The final destination for the vehicles is Singapore.
The 10-year-old ship, measuring about 200 meters (656 feet) in length, can carry as many as 4,000 cars.