The burning of hazardous materials aboard a container ship moored in southern BC

VICTORIA – The Canadian Coast Guard says a fire continues in several containers aboard a cargo ship about five miles off the coast of Victoria.

The Coast Guard says in a statement that it received the news late Saturday morning that a fire had broken out in 10 damaged containers aboard the MV Zim Kingston, which is now docked at Constance Bank, and that two of the containers In flames contain hazardous material identified as potassium amylxanthate.

The statement notes that the ship itself is not on fire, but says an emergency zone has been established within a nautical mile around the Zim Kingston, adding that there is currently no risk to the safety of people on shore.

The Joint Rescue and Coordination Center in Victoria says 16 crew members have been safely removed from the ship, while five others, including the captain, remain on board at their request.

Canadian Coast Guard spokeswoman Michelle Imbeau says an Incident Command Post run by the Coast Guard on behalf of the federal government and British Columbia, as well as First Nations representatives, is coordinating a multi-agency response to the incident.

She says the Command Post is also working with the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor 40 containers that fell overboard the Zim Kingston in rough waters on Friday, and are currently floating about 12 nautical miles from the West coast of Vancouver Island, near Bamfield, BC.

The Coast Guard says the containers, some of which contain hazardous material, pose a significant risk to boaters, and that with today’s stormy weather forecast, retrieving them can be challenging.

It says that a Vancouver hazmat team is mobilizing and that the owner of the Zim Kingston has contracted with the US-based Resolve Marine Group for salvage operations, including firefighting and container recovery.

Resolve Marine has mobilized two vessels that are expected to be on site today.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Coast Guard says it is working through the Emergency Management BC network to relay public safety information as needed.

This Canadian Press report was first published on October 24, 2021.

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