The Sri Lanka Navy led the response after a fire broke out on the container ship MSC Daniela, 151,559gt, of the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), some 120 miles off Colombo harbour on Apr 4.
After it was alerted by the ship’s local agent, the Navy deployed two fast attack craft to fight the fire, assisting Sri Lankan Port Authority’s tugs. They reached the ship when she was 33 miles from the harbour.
The Navy said: “The two tugs began dousing the flames while the two attack craft were ready to evacuate the ship’s crew if the fire spread.” The following day, the MSC said the fire had been extinguished on the morning of Apr 5, but continued to smoulder. The fire had been in the containers towards the bow of the ship, which was on passage from Singapore to Port Said.
The MSC said that no injuries to the 22 crew members had been reported. The ship, of 13,798 teu, was towed to a distance of 10 miles off Colombo.
The Sri Lanka Navy, the Indian Navy and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority joined efforts to contain the fire by deploying the Sri Lankan fast attack craft P-412 and P-436, tugs and specialised fire-fighting vessels while the Sri Lanka Air Force and the Indian Coast Guard provided helicopters to fight the fire.
On Apr 6, the Sri Lankan Navy said that firefighting assets were still dousing the ship’s topsides with water. The Indian Coast Guard ship Shoor was on the scene, along with the Sri Lankan Navy offshore patrol vessel Sagara. The Indian Navy had also diverted the survey ship Darshak and Garriel at the request of the Sri Lankan authorities.