A 650-foot (198-meter) car carrier with 21 crew members and about 3,500 Nissan vehicles on board caught massive fire on Monday while traveling from Japan to Hawai. The cause is still unknown. 16 crew members were rescued but four were listed as unresponsive when rescue ships saw them. One crew member is still missing but the U.S. Coast Guard reportedly suspended its search.
Built in 2009, the Sincerity Ace carrier is owned by Shoei Kisen Kaisha. It was headed to Hawaii and U.S. mainland ports with Nissans “and possibly other vehicles,” according to Automotive News. A significant fire was reported on Monday morning and intentions to abandon ship.
According to MOL's vessel schedule, the Sincerity Ace was at Nissan auto terminals in Yokohama and Kanda, and was bound for Honolulu. The exact current location of the ship is not known but it reportedly continues to drift in the Pacific Ocean, “about 1,800 miles northwest of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.”
"In this type of situation [the Sincerity Ace] was really in such a remote region and [the samaritan vessels] were really the only ones that could get there and make a difference, and we are very grateful that they have taken their time, these good samaritans on these merchant vessels, to help us in this situation," Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West of the Coast Guard explained.
A Nissan spokesman confirmed to Automotive News that it has approximately 3,500 cars on board the large carrier. He has “no information on the condition of the vehicles at this time,” as the company’s employees’ “thoughts are with the crew members as well as the safety of the rescue teams.”
Photo: M. Graat / MarineTraffic.com