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Emergency zone doubled as crews continue to battle fire on cargo ship off of Victoria coast

Coast guard vessels cannot directly fight the fire because of toxic chemicals on board
A tug boat sprays the hull of the M/V Zim Kingston at 9:50 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 24. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)

Efforts to control a fire onboard the MV Zim Kingston continue Sunday morning as the Canadian Coast Guard doubled the emergency zone around the vessel overnight.

A Coast Guard Vessel was cooling the vessel by spraying water on its hull early Sunday morning after officials had increased the emergency zone around the ship to two nautical miles. Emergency crews sprung into action after flames could be seen coming from the vessel as it was passing off the Greater Victoria coast.

“Due to the nature of chemicals onboard the container ship, applying water directly to the fire is not an option,” the Canadian Coast Guard said in a Facebook post. As of Sunday morning, there is no threat to the public, according to a Coast Guard spokesperson.

The Coast Guard said on Saturday that 10 shipping containers were on fire aboard the ship, including two holding 52,080 kilograms of xanthates (Potassium Amylxanthate), which the Coast Guard considers hazardous materials.

READ MORE: Fire on cargo ship off Victoria’s shore leads to crew evacuation as 40 containers fall overboard

Two Coast Guard boats evacuated 16 of the ship’s crew members to Ogden Point for their safety and the safety of responders. Five crew members remained on board to fight the fire on the ship. According to the Coast Guard spokesperson, the Capitan of the Zim Kingston was trying to have their full crew return as of Sunday morning.

The ship had also lost 40 shipping containers overboard on Friday. A salvaging crew was contacted, but the weather set to hit Vancouver Island Sunday night could make recovery operations difficult, a statement from the command post managing the incident said.

The Atlantic Raven has replaced the CCGS Captain Goddard M.S.M. and the CCGS Cape Calvert is also monitoring the situation.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Coast Guard said more information will be available at a press conference scheduled for 1 p.m.

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