Unified Command continues response to Grande Costa D’Avorio fire in Port Newark

A unified command continued to respond to the fire aboard the cargo ship Greater Ivory Coast on Friday in Port Newark, New Jersey.

The Unified Command consists of the US Coast Guard, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Newark Fire Department and Gallagher Marine Systems representing ship operator Grimaldi Deep Sea SpA, part of the Italy-based Grimaldi Group. DonJon Smit was tasked with the salvage.

In a news conference Friday morning, Gallagher Marine Systems President Thomas Wiker said the ship was stable and listing to starboard. “We continue to monitor the status of the vessel and, if necessary, plan actions to mitigate further listing,” he said.

As of Friday morning, there had been no reports of an oil spill from the ship.

Beth Rooney, port director for the Port of New York and New Jersey, said the port is working with Unified Command to keep trade flowing in the port. So far, the impact on the port has been limited mainly to the loading and unloading of vehicles in the port. There was no impact on container loading and unloading.

When the fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, the ship was busy loading cars. The ship’s crew immediately activated firefighting measures on board while the local fire brigade was alerted.

Tragically, the initial response to the fire killed two firefighters and injured six. None of the ship’s 28 crew members were injured in the operation.

The ship is reportedly carrying 1,200 vehicles and 157 containers that were destined for export. According to reports, there are no electric vehicles or dangerous cargo on board.

Firefighters are busy putting out the fire from both the pier and the water. Crews worked to gain access to the ship’s upper decks, which are believed to be the main source of the fire.

Air quality monitoring is performed by the Newark Fire Department and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to ensure safe working conditions and public safety.

“On behalf of Unit Command, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the families and colleagues of the two firefighters who tragically lost their lives and to those injured during the deployment,” said Capt. Zeita Merchant, captain of the Port of New York and Jersey . “We continue to work closely with our partner agencies and neighboring jurisdictions. Together we are pooling our resources, expertise and equipment to increase the safety of all responders and maximize the effectiveness of our response efforts.”

The cause of the fire is currently being investigated. A formal investigation is being conducted to determine what caused the fire and all federal, state and local parties and owners are working closely together throughout this process.

The Greater Ivory CoastBuilt in 2011, the vessel operates on the Grimaldi Deep Sea’s regular North America-West Africa Ro/Ro service.

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