Montag, 06.12.2021 01:23 Uhr

Minor incident: Fire on the Everest

Verantwortlicher Autor: Jochen Raffelberg Luxembourg, 02.02.2021, 11:59 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Jochen Raffelberg Bericht 6634x gelesen

Luxembourg [ENA] Two days after the winner of the so-called Everest of the Seas sailing race crossed the finishing line in France, another Everest hit the headlines: The multipurpose vessel MPV Everest reported a fire on its way to Australia while navigating toward the route the solo skippers had taken on their recent round the world regatta. The fire was put out quickly, no one was injured the ship’s operating company said.

Knut Reinertz, head of Luxembourg-based Maritime Construction Services (MCS) said on Friday that a battery in the battery room on the vessel’s “Monkey Island” had been on fire that “was contained within five minutes.” The Monkey Island called deck is located above the ship’s bridge. The Australian Antarctic Division reported it had been advised of a "minor incident", a small fire on board the MPV Everest, which was en route back to Hobart from a successful resupply of Australia’s Casey research station in the Antarctic. “The small fire was quickly put out using hand-held fire extinguishers and a full head count of those on board has confirmed all are safe and well. There were no injuries,” the AAD said.

The ship’s operator MCS had been notified and crew had commenced an investigation. The MPV Everest was sailing 225 nautical miles from the Antarctic Casey research station and due to arrive back in Hobart (Tasmania) as scheduled next Thursday. AAD is part of the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The Division, based in Kingston, Tasmania, leads, coordinates and delivers the Australian Antarctic Program that also entails the sub-Antarctic islands of Heard and Macquarie Island. The ice-class Everest was built by Keppel Singmarine in Singapore and delivered to MCS in 2017. The US$46m vessel can operate in temperatures as low as -30 degree Celsius.

Shortly before the Everest departed Hobart for Antarctica maritime unions had protested the use of overseas crew on the ship saying there were plenty of experienced out-of-work Australian mariners to fill the jobs. According to the unions the foreign-flagged vessel was crewed entirely by overseas workers employed by the Singapore-based crewing agent Kuiper. Three maritime unions representing seafarers, officers and engineers jointly called on the AAD to employ highly experienced Australians, including those who previously worked on Antarctic missions aboard the Aurora. AAD stated the Australian seafarers were afforded the opportunity to apply to work on the vessel.

AAD General Manager of Operations & Safety, Charlton Clark, said that the vessel owned by the Dutch company MCS, a subsidiary of Luxembourg’s MCS, had an international crew with significant Arctic and Antarctic experience. “The crew has the latest Polar Code training, and they’re operating one of the most highly capable and sophisticated ice-class vessels in Antarctica at the moment,” Clark said. The unions said if the AAD wouldn't employ an Australian crew it was up to the Federal Government to act to ensure Australian seafarers with experience in Antarctica were employed to undertake the mission before it was too late.

The MPV Everest made headlines in January 2019 when it was involved in the recovery of the cockpit voice recorder from a brand new Indonesian Lion Air Boeing 737 Max that crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff in October 2018. All 189 people onboard were killed. Lion said following requests from victims’ families it had allocated US$2.6m to hire the MPV Everest for the search. The Boeing 737 MAX passenger airliner was grounded worldwide after 346 people died in two crashes, Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.

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