On Saturday, October 23rd, 2021, the MV Zim Kingston caught on fire while being approximately 5 miles away from the shore near Victoria, British Columbia. While the fire was intense, the US and Canadian Coast Guard officials have thankfully been monitoring the Zim Kingston vessel closely since Friday, so there were no injuries.
But why were the US and Canadian Coast Guards already keeping an eye on the Zim Kingston, you ask? Early Friday, Zim Kingston had reported that their vessel lost 40 containers overboard during a heavy storm and rough sea currents on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, near the US-Canada border.
As their location and status were already on the radar of the Coast Guards from both the US and Canada, they were able to arrange assistance in an efficient manner.
The fire was caused by a combustible and hazardous chemical powder, potassium amyl xanthate, that spilled over from damaged containers. Those containers were damned in the Friday storm, and caught the ship on fire, and expelled toxic gas in its immediate surroundings.
Yet because of the hazardous kindling, the Coast Guard advised fire fighting vessels and the crewmembers to avoid using water to fight the fire and instead brought the crew to safety.
Out of all 40 containers that initially went overboard, only 2 contained the chemical powder. The other containers with the powder remained on the vessel and triggered the fire. Approximately 10 containers on the Zim Kingston caught on fire.
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