A major fire broke out on Indian flag container vessel MV SSL Kolkata in the early hours of Thursday morning after it left Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh. The carrier, with 22 crew and 464 containers onboard, reported the fire after one of the containers exploded. The fire spread to rest of the vessel after efforts to put out the fire by the crew failed.
According to a press release by the Coast Guard authorities, the master of vessel decided to steer the ship to a shallow area as it started to lose stability due to the fire and bad weather conditions. Later, a decision was taken to abandon the ship.
Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard dispatched ships sailed from Haldia, Paradip and Vishakapatnam to initiate a rescue operation and douse the fire onboard. A Coast Guard Dornier aircraft from Kolkata and ICGS Rajkiran from Haldia also reached the spot to rescue the crew onboard.
Ships with external firefighting system have also been deployed by the Coast Guard to control the fire. Considering the severity of the situation, ships equipped to tackle an oil spill were also dispatched as a precaution.
The authorities are in constant communication with Kolkata Port Trust, Haldia Dock Complex, Dhamra Port and the owner/agent of the vessel to coordinate the firefighting and rescue operation.