On Thursday (Jan 21), around noon the crew of the general cargo ship Flinter America remarked smoke development in the engine room while transiting the traffic separation scheme of Casquet.
The crew alerted the Maritime Operations Centre of the maritime prefecture of the English Channel and the North Sea, and the CROSS Jobourg ordered the emergency tug Abeille Liberté to the site, which was already at sea to assist the vessel.
Meanwhile, a team of experts of the marine brigade and other experts, met to assess the situation. Around 12:40 p.m LT, an investigation team, reinforced by seven members of the marine brigade, took off aboard an EC 225 helicopter of the Navy base in Maupertus, along with 400 kg of equipment.
At 1 p.m. the tug Abeille Liberté went on standby near the Flinter America. Minutes later, the response team arrived and was hoisted aboard. They found out that none of the 12 crew members were injured or intoxicated. The fire was already under control although several hot spots were remaining, especially on the upper deck.
The marine brigade started to cool the spots and monitored the viability of the air, while the assessment team found out that the cause of the accident was a ruptured diesel fuel pipe which had set the engine room alight. At 3:30 p.m. the crew of the Flinter America was trying to start the auxiliary generators.
Despite several attempts, the ship did not regain propulsion. In order to keep the safety of navigation in the area, the maritime prefect decided by late afternoon, that the tug Abeille Liberté should tow the casualty to Cherbourg where it was anchored off the port.
The intervention teams of the Navy were taken aboard the helicopter again in the early evening. Reportedly a tug will be contracted by the shipowner to tow the vessel to Rotterdam.
Responsiveness and mobilization of the emergency chain has prevented a much more serious situation in the high traffic area. Thanks to the professionalism of intervention teams, the incident has ended well, no injuries were reported.