Car carrier blaze off Vietnam

Car carrier blaze off Vietnam — 2023-02-06

Maritime and Ports

Another car carrier caught fire over the weekend, 4-5 February, the latest in a series of incidents that are spooking seafarers and insurers alike.

The 6,000 ceu Ah Shin made towards the Vietnamese coastline after a fire broke out on Friday 3 February 2023. The blaze ripped through three decks and was only eventually put out earlier on Monday 6 February.

The Panama-flagged ship was carrying 4,530 cars from South Korea to Singapore. Following the fire the 1999-built vessel has developed a list towards starboard. It is currently around 45 km from Vung Tau, a major port complex in southern Vietnam.

How the fire started has yet to be revealed, but experts suggest the Ah Shin blaze is likely to be related to the transportation of lithium-ion batteries.

Recently, serious and sometimes catastrophic incidents involving lithium-ion batteries have become more commonplace, to the point where many shipowners are refusing to transport secondhand cars which contain these batteries.

Once electric vehicles are caught up in any blaze they act as a serious accelerant. Lithium-ion batteries which catch fire can reach temperatures of more than 2,700 degrees celsius.