Firefighters and salvors have successfully brought a cargo fire under control on the bulker ship Batavia Express at the port of Cape Town. The fire broke out on Saturday in a cargo of eucalyptus paper bales in the forward hold of the wood chip carrier. The Cape Town fire department, along with expert salvors from Smit, worked together to extinguish the blaze and save the rest of the cargo. The damaged paper bales were removed from the hull, extinguished, and disposed of. The undamaged cargo will be transferred to a nearby warehouse for temporary storage. The full salvage operation is expected to continue until Friday.
This is the second time in less than a month that Batavia Express has experienced a cargo hold fire. In mid-September, a fire broke out while the ship was en route from Santos to Qingdao. The ship had to divert to Saldanha Bay and a team of local firefighters was brought on board to control the fire. The vessel was allowed to berth in Cape Town a few days later and the fire was fully extinguished by September 22. Since then, the ship has remained in Cape Town.
Batavia Express, a 70,000 dwt wood chip carrier, was delivered in 2013 and is operated by a Singaporean firm. It has a clean port state control inspection record.