A fire on a cargo ship carrying cars resulted in the death of one sailor this week in the North Sea, just off the coast of the Netherlands.

The fire broke out on Tuesday night after the Panama flagged vessel ‘Fremantle Highway’  had left the port of Bremerhaven on course for Port Said, Egypt, with 3,000 cars aboard.

Crew members initially tried to douse the flames themselves, but were quickly overwhelmed.  The fire had rendered lifeboats inaccessible and seven of the crew jumped 30 metres into the sea, resulting in further injuries.

A salvage operation and investigation is underway, but the cause of the fire is being blamed on 25 electric cars that were on board.

The dangers involved in shipping lithium batteries has been a hot topic of debate during recent times. While they are relatively harmless on their own in our phones and electronic devices, they can explode or catch fire when stored together or damaged in bigger quantities.

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) warned its members this year that lithium batteries posed the biggest threat to shipping.


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