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Container vessel catches fire in Gulf of Riga, crew abandons the ship

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RIGA : A fire broke out in the engine room of the Dutch-flagged container ship Escape, while it was sailing in the Gulf of Riga in Latvia on 22 February.

All the crew members of the vessel abandoned the ship after unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the fire. The 15 seafarers evacuated the vessel using a lifeboat before a nearby cargo ship Kairit transfer them to Riga.

The cause of the fire incident is still unknown and it is not yet clear whether Escape was carrying hazardous cargo. The route of the boxship was from the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania to the port of Riga in Latvia.

According to the Latvian naval’s release, the ship carries “dangerous cargo”, without specifying the precise nature of the cargo. Later, it was stated that the cargo consisted of polymers and paint materials, though these have not caught fire.

Two tugboats, Stella and Orion, which are equipped with water tanks and foam generators, seem to have been involved in the fire extinguishing.

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