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Netherlands: One Indian Seafarer Dead, 20 Injured After Cargo Ship Catches Fire

The cargo ship was carrying cars, 2,857 of which 25 are electrical cars, which made the fire even more difficult.

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The Indian Embassy in the Netherlands confirmed and condoled the death of an Indian seafarer after a large cargo vessel carrying nearly 3,000 cars off the Dutch island of Ameland in the North Sea caught fire on Wednesday, the Dutch coast guard said, as reported by news agency AP.

The Indian Embassy further added in its tweet, “Embassy is also in touch with the remaining 20 injured crew members, who are safe and receiving medical attention. All possible assistance is being extended in coordination with the Dutch authorities and the shipping company,” the embassy added.

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The fire on ‘Fremantle Highway’ was reported on Tuesday night and was still burning till Wednesday. According to the report, boats and helicopters were pressed into service to get the 23 crew members off the vessel after they failed to put out the flames.

According to CNN affiliate and Dutch national network NOS, the Fremantle Highway cargo ship, which flies the flag of Panama, was travelling with about 3,000 automobiles from Bremerhaven in Germany to Port Said in Egypt.

According to NOS, one of the 25 electric vehicles on board may have ignited the fire, but the coast guard representative told CNN that the cause is still being looked into.

“It’s carrying cars, 2,857 of which 25 are electrical cars, which made the fire even more difficult. It’s not easy to keep that kind of fire under control and even in such a vessel it’s not easy,” Lea Versteeg, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, told The Associated Press.

“Currently there are a lot of vessels on scene to monitor the situation and to see how to get the fire under control," Versteeg said.

Ameland is near the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site off Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands that the United Nations describes as the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world” and “one of the most important areas for migratory birds in the world.”

“We hope that the fire will be under control or will die out and that we can get the vessel in a safe location,” Versteeg said. “But it’s all uncertain what’s going to happen now.”

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