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Burning freighter being towed toward Schiermonnikoog

Two tugboats are slowly but steadily towing the burning Fremantle Highway to a location 16 kilometers north of Schiermonnikoog. In this new, temporary location, the freighter is further from the shipping routes and other ships and also a bit more out of the wind. “It’s a safer place,” Edwin de Feijter of the public works department Rijkswaterstaat Noord-Nederland told Omrop Fryslan.

The Rijkswaterstaat had been planning to tow the ship to a safer location for days, but it proved impossible on Sunday because of the smoke development on the ship and the south-westerly wind. The situation proved more favorable on Monday, so the salvaging company decided to “seize this moment,” De Feijter said.

If everything goes well, the tugs will tow the ship to its new location at a speed of around 5.5 kilometers per hour. “We can’t say yet when it will arrive at its destination,” De Feijter said. At 8:30 a.m., the Fremantle Highway was still over 30 kilometers from the new location.

The salvaging company is continually monitoring the stability of the ship during towing. The Rijkswaterstaat vessel Arca is also nearby to intervene if the cargo ship starts leaking oil. For now, the situation is stable, De e Feijter told the broadcaster. “Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we hope everything will remain as it is now.”

The fire on the Fremantle Highway, a cargo ship sailing under the flag of Panama, started during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. There were 23 crew members on board the vessel. One did not survive. The emergency services rescued the other crew members, pulling some from the water after they had jumped overboard.

According to the Japanese shipping company K-Line, the ship had 3,783 cars on board, including 498 electric cars. All of the vehicles were brand new.

The ultimate goal is to tow the Fremantle Highway to a port. Which port has yet to be determined.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/07/31/burning-freighter-towed-toward-schiermonnikoog Burning freighter being towed toward Schiermonnikoog

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