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One crew dead and several wounded in K Line car carrier blaze off Dutch coast

The pure car and truck carrier had left Bremerhaven Tuesday afternoon for Singapore, via the Suez Canal, and was laden with some 3,000 cars including 25 electric vehicles. The vessel’s crew report that the fire was detected near the electric cars

Update: An electric car fire is suspected as the possible source of a blaze that has ripped through the Shoei Kisen Kaisha-owned PCTC Fremantle Highway off the coast of Ameland, Netherlands. The vessel is being attended by a local firefighting tug. The utilisation of large quantities of hosed water from tugs to extinguish fires aboard large vehicle carriers has previously resulted in loss of vessel stability and resulted in capsize

ONE crew member died and several others were wounded after a fire broke out aboard the K Line operated pure car and truck carrier Fremantle Highway (IMO: 9667344) off the Dutch coast on Tuesday night.

All 23 crew have now been evacuated from the burning 6,200-car capacity vessel by the Dutch coast guard.

Fremantle Highway had left Bremerhaven at 1500 hrs local time on Tuesday with its next port of call, via the Suez Canal, due to be Singapore on August 19. The vessel is loaded with 2,857 cars, of which 25 are said to be electric vehicles. 

It serves in K-Line’s ro-ro service from north Europe to north-east Asia and prior to its arrival at Bremerhaven had called at Zeebrugge, Belgium and Bristol, UK.

A statement provided to Lloyd’s List from the vessel’s owner, Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha, confirms that fire broke out on board the vessel at around 2145 hrs UTC. 

“The crew immediately carried out emergency firefighting via onboard fire suppression systems, but the situation could not be brought under control. In consultation with, and with thanks to, the Netherlands Coastguard, the crew were evacuated from the scene with the assistance of the Netherlands Coastguard and the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution,” according to the owner’s statement.

“We can sadly confirm that a crew member passed away following the evacuation. We are working to provide all necessary support to the next of kin during this difficult period. The relevant authorities have been notified and we are working closely with emergency responders on salvage and firefighting operations. Our priorities are to ensure the continuing safety of the crew, protect the marine environment and to ensure the safety of the vessel.”

While it has not been confirmed that the fire started with the electric cars, a spokesperson for the Dutch Coastguard told Lloyd’s List that the crew members who discovered the fire reported that the blaze had broken out near the electric vehicles.



Fremantle Highway is currently located approximately 27 km north of the coast of Ameland, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence. There is still a fire on board. Several emergency services are still present near the ship.

Several injured crew members have been taken to Lauwersoog and Eelde for medical attention.

The 2013-built 18,549-dwt Fremantle Highway is leased by K-Line from Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the shipowning and leasing subsidiary of Japanese shipbuilder Imabari.

It is one of eight vessels registered to Shoei-controlled Luster Maritime, the Panamanian company that controls Ever Given, the containership that blocked the Suez Canal in 2021.

The ship is managed by Hong Kong’s Wallem Shipmanagement, classed by ClassNK and is insured by the Japan Shipowners Mutual P&I Association, according to Lloyd’s list Intelligence data.


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