England

Courage transporter blaze: Fire crews to assess ship damage

Courage
Image caption The Courage was monitored overnight by Hampshire Fire Service

Firefighters are yet to assess the damage on a cargo ship that caught fire while travelling to Southampton.

The transporter ship Courage caught fire off the coast of Essex on Tuesday and arrived in Southampton a day later.

Scores of damaged vehicles are expected to be found when firefighters open the deck. It is hoped the inspection can take place on Friday.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue said it needed to "confirm there were no remaining pockets of fire".

The BBC understands the ship was carrying about 600 vehicles and around 100 have been damaged.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued a "prohibition notice" to stop the ship being moved until deemed safe.

A spokesman said there were no issues in terms of pollution because the fire had been contained.

Image caption The Courage was monitored overnight by Hampshire Fire Service and firefighters will open the sealed deck later

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said: "The ship was monitored throughout the night with no obvious signs of fire and the compartment remaining cool. This situation remains the same with no immediate danger or threat of fire.

"Crews are currently in attendance at the dock and continue to work in partnership with the key partner agencies: the ship's owners, Harbour Master and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to assess the affected compartment.

"The next steps are to asses the damage, confirm there are no remaining pockets of fire and start the ventilation process to make the vessel safe for other agencies and crews."

The crew of the US-registered Courage, which was 40 miles off Harwich on the Essex coast, tackled the blaze using the ship's inbuilt CO2 system after fire broke out on board on Tuesday night.

The vessel, which was heading to Southampton, spent Wednesday afternoon anchored off the Isle of Wight.

Specialist firefighters from Hampshire were winched on board before it completed its journey.

Owner American Roll-On Roll-Off Carriers said it did not know how much damage the ship or the cargo had sustained.

It was carrying a mix of commercial and US military vehicles, it added.

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