Damaged Container Ship Bound for Germany

A safety inspection by two expert teams of the fire-damaged MSC Flaminia was scheduled for Saturday to determine whether the ship may pass through the English Channel.

More than a month after a fire aboard the 984-foot container ship MSC Flaminia caused heavy damage and killed at least one member of the crew, its owner, Reederei NSB, announced plans to tow it to the German port of Wilhelmshaven. The company's Aug. 24 announcement said a safety inspection of the ship by dangerous goods specialists, chemists, and salvage experts would take place the following day to determine whether the ship may pass through the English Channel.

The condition of the ship is stable, and its hull, superstructure, engine room, stern section, and forecastle are intact. No leaks are occurring, and "the cargo -– including dangerous goods containers -– is in a state which allows the passage through the English Channel and her transfer to coastal areas and eventually an emergency port. Such dangerous goods containers are transported regularly on container ships and off-loaded in ports," according to the company.

"Dangerous goods are carried on all modern container ships," said Helmut Ponath, CEO of Reederei NSB. "Our ships carry up to 11,000 TEU, and it is a normal that dangerous goods, for example chemicals for the German industry, are among them. Everyone should be aware of that."

The company's headquarters are in Buxtehude, Germany. The Flaminia was bound for Antwerp, Belgium from Charleston, S.C., with 2,876 shipping containers aboard when it caught fire more than 300 nautical miles off the British coast.

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