Highlands & Islands

Major fire tackled on cargo ship in Lochaber

Yeoman Bontrup. Port of Gdansk photo
Image caption The fire broke out on a conveyor belt on the ship

Firefighters have tackled a major fire on a cargo ship on the west coast of Scotland.

The 100,000 tonne bulk carrier Yeoman Bontrup caught alight at the Glensanda pier on the Morven peninsula in Lochaber at about 1530 BST on Friday.

Clyde Coastguard said smoke was still coming from the vessel as the fire was brought under control on Saturday.

She said a coastguard towing vessel had been on scene overnight spraying the boat with water heavily.

The spokeswoman said "boundary cooling" operations were used to keep the vessel's hull cool to minimise further outbreaks of fire.

"So far, there is no evidence of pollution but this is being monitored closely," she added.

No-one was seriously injured but the vessel is believed to have been extensively damaged.

The fire broke out on a conveyor belt used to load cargo onto the vessel.

It spread to the ship and set off an explosion involving gas cylinders on board.

The blaze took hold on the Bahamas-registered ship on the conveyor belt used to carry material from the quarry to the ship.

Because of Glensanda's remote location, firefighters had to travel by barge.

The coastguard said all crew members were safe, however the area of the vessel housing the crew quarters suffered significant damage.

One man was taken to Oban Hospital for treatment to injuries which are not thought to be life threatening.

A number of crew members were also treated for the effects of smoke inhalation and for minor injuries.

Specialist team

Richard Morgans, Clyde Coastguard's watch manager, said: "This was a fierce fire which has caused a couple of explosions on board."

The eight-man specialist Highlands and Islands maritime firefighting team (Mirg) were transported to the scene by an RAF rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth, with the assistance of coastguard rescue officers from the Portmahomack team.

A Fire and Rescue spokesman said a joint police and fire investigation will be carried out in due course.

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