Posted on September 26, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Russian-flagged Fishing Trawler, BUKHTA NAEZDNIK caught on fire and capsized on September the 25th while docked at the Norwegian port of Breivika, located in the Tromso region.
The blaze began while the vessel was undergoing welding works. According to initial reports, a random spark managed to set the fishing nets alight, and proceeded to rapidly spread across the vessel.
At the time of the fire, the trawler was equipped with an ammonia tank and was carrying about 200,000 litres of diesel oil.
As a result, local authorities at the Norwegian port had to evacuate the surrounding areas due to an increased risk of an explosion. In total, approximately 100 people had to be evacuated from the area.
"The fire is near the (ammonia) tank, but it hasn't exploded. We believe that the valves have worked properly and that much has gone out of the tank. We don't, therefore, think that there is a great danger of explosion right now, but we keep the tank cool all the time,” said Oeystein Solstad, head of the region’s Fire & Rescue Department in a statement to the press.
Some 27 of the 29 crew members aboard the Trawler had to be hospitalized due to smoke inhalation as a result of the fire, but apparently their condition is non-threatening.
By Thursday morning the vessel began listing dangerously, while also being covered in a thick cloud of smoke.
The firemen had to retreat from the vessel due to safety reasons, but a fireboat with a water cannon arrived at the scene in order to aid with the firefighting efforts.
Local police had to ask the residents of North Tromso to close their doors and windows due to the smoke and toxic gases emanating from the burning vessel.
Furthermore, several schools, hospitals & bus services had to be shut down as a safety precaution.
By 9:00 am on Thursday morning, the vessel had fully capsized. According to reports, the vessel’s starboard side is still above water, and smoke continues to emerge from the burning vessel.