Improperly declared lithium battery cargo has been identified as the cause of a fire on board Chinese COSCO Shipping containership COSCO Pacific.
Under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code batteries, regardless of the chemical used, are characterised as dangerous goods due to their corrosive character.
This means that, in order to be stored correctly and to avoid a fire hazard, they must be declared correctly.
It has been reported that COSCO Shipping has identified the owner of the cargo as Wan Hai Lines and that the three containers concerned had been declared as spare parts and accessories.
The cargo was loaded in the Port of Nansha and the COSCO Pacific was underway from Port Klang, Malaysia to Nhava Sheva Port in India, where the cargo was supposed to be unloaded, when the fire broke out on January 4, 2020.
The ship’s crew used the cargo hold’s CO2 suppressant to put the fire under control and there have been no reported injuries to the ship’s crew, however, the extent of the damage to the cargo is unknown.
The vessel was diverted to Colombo for inspection of the cargo and safety of the ship, where it remained moored as of January 9, 2020.