Less than one month into the new year and we’ve already seen the first container fire of 2020.
Now, I’ve written about container fires before, and for good reason!
More than 10,000 containers a year go up in flames costing the industry around $500,000,000.
That’s quite a chunk of change.
Now, the sad thing is this particular fire could have easily been prevented.
The ship, Cosco Pacific, was on route from Port Klang in Malaysia to Nhava Sheva in Western India.
All was going well until one of the containers on board spontaneously combusted, incinerating itself, destroying its neighbour and damaging several other containers all around it.
You see, some genius had failed to declare that their container was packed full of lithium-ion batteries, instead labelling it as “spare parts”.
Now, I don’t know if it was a deliberate act or just a genuine uneducated mistake. But either way, the consequences were severe.
Several containers were damaged and the whole ship was delayed.
If you know your stuff then you’ll know that lithium-based batteries are characterized as dangerous goods. And for good reason too. They have a corrosive nature and have to be stored correctly to avoid being a fire hazard.
A lithium-based fire is hard to control thanks to its unusual makeup of multiple elements (chemical, metal etc). These type of fires are also able to produce their own oxygen and give themselves a sustainable source of fuel, making them incredibly difficult to extinguish.
To put it simply, they’re a bloody nightmare!
Thankfully, this particular fire was kept well contained by the crew, until they could make an emergency call at the Port of Columbo.
Now, no matter who you move your goods with, there’s always small a risk that some other nitwit will have made a mistake.
But there are ways you can reduce the risks and protect your cargo – Check out my previous blog post (Shipping Container Fires – Is Your Cargo At Risk? – below ) if you want to know more!
Catch you later,