Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO sits at anchor off the coast of New York City on Oct. 8, 2018. The freighter became disabled after a fire broke out in the engine room. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak)

No Injuries in Fire Aboard NYC-Bound Tanker

The U.S. Coast Guard and Fire Department of the City of New York Special Operations Command firefighters and rescue paramedics conducted a joint safety examination of the disabled asphalt tanker this week; the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Fire Department of the City of New York Special Operations Command firefighters and rescue paramedics conducted a joint safety examination of a disabled, 479-foot asphalt tanker Oct. 8. A fire broke out in its engine room Oct. 5 while the vessel was under way in the Atlantic Ocean, bound for New York Harbor, the Coast Guard reported. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England in Woods Hole, Mass., received a report that morning that the Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO, loaded with asphalt with 21 crew aboard, had a fire ignite in its engine room while transiting 57 miles southeast of Nantucket Island.

The fire was extinguished using the ship's installed carbon dioxide fire suppression system, and there were no reported injuries to any of the crew members and no reports of pollution. But the ship's electrical generators and main engine were disabled by the fire. Coast Guard Cutter Legare, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based in Portsmouth, Va., was diverted to the area to assist the vessel, and salvage tugs were dispatched to take it under tow to the port.

Inspection crews from Sector New York and FDNY boarded the vessel Oct. 8 to assess damage and ensure the ship's safety prior to allowing its entry into New York Harbor. "This was a significant engine room fire that damaged a number of vessel systems, and we are fortunate there were no injuries," said Capt. Jason Tama, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York. "Responding to this case required close coordination between numerous partner agencies and stakeholders to ensure the safety of the ship and the port, and to protect the environment. The assistance and expertise provided by FDNY marine firefighters was essential to the safe resolution of this case."

"The Port Security Grant Program has funded many training evolutions for the FDNY, which has translated into the successful multi-agency execution during this live event," said John Esposito, FDNY's chief of Special Operations. "The collaboration during this incident exemplifies the importance of strong relationships between the FDNY and the Coast Guard."

The tanker will remain in port until repairs are completed, and the cause of the fire is under investigation, the Coast Guard reported.

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