THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A fire that had been raging on board a cargo ship carrying thousands of new cars appears to have burnt itself out after nearly a week, the Dutch ministry coordinating salvage efforts said Tuesday.
The Fremantle Highway, carrying 3,783 new vehicles, including 498 electric ones, from the German port city of Bremerhaven to Singapore had been ablaze since late on July 25. Firefighters decided not to douse the flames with water for fear of making the nearly 200-meter (around 650-foot) ship unstable as it floated close to North Sea shipping lanes and a world-renowned migratory bird habitat.
"The situation on board the cargo ship is still stable. There are no indications that the fire is still burning," the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management said, adding that the ship is intact below the waterline.
Photos released Monday by the Netherlands coast guard appeared to show no smoke billowing out of the ship, which is anchored 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of the Dutch islands of Schiermonnikoog and Ameland while authorities decide which port it will be towed to for the next stage of the complex salvage operation.
“The recovery companies are working on a plan of action for towing the freighter to its final location and salvaging it,” the ministry said.
One crew member died and others were injured when the fire erupted. The crew of 21, all Indian nationals, and two other people on board, were evacuated in the early hours of July 26.