One crew member killed, several injured in fire aboard MSC container ship from Charleston

Mediterranean Shipping's MSC Flaminia seen here during a 2009 call at the Port of Charleston, was abandoned in the mid-Atlantic Saturday after an explosion and fire that killed at least one crew member. The Flaminia had departed Charleston July 8 bound for Belgium. FILE Provided/State Ports Authority 2009

An explosion and fire aboard a Mediterranean Shipping Company container ship bound from the Port of Charleston to Belgium killed one crew member, injured several, and caused the ship to be abandoned Saturday in the mid-Atlantic, according to the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and a British press report.

The Falmouth Coastguard reports that just after 6 a.m. they “received the relayed Mayday broadcast from the German registered MSC Flaminia reporting that the crew on board had abandoned the vessel.”

There had been an explosion and a fire in a cargo hold, the Coastguard said in a prepared statement. The ship and its crew of 25 was too far at sea for helicopters to reach.

The Flaminia, a 984-foot container ship, had departed the Port of Charleston’s Wando Terminal six days earlier, at 8:30 p.m. the State Ports Authority’s website shows. It was roughly half way between Canada and England, about 1,000 miles from Cornwall, when the explosion and fire were reported.

The Falmouth Coastguard broadcast an alert to all vessels in the area of the stricken Flaminia, but most were at least six hours away, the agency said. The oil tanker DS Crown was first on the scene and rescued 24 crew members from a lifeboat and raft, the Coastguard said.

The crew included German, Polish and Filipino nationals.

The Coastguard listed one crew member missing and four injured. The British Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday that one of the injured crew died from burns, and one was still missing.

Read more in Tuesday’s editions of The Post and Courier. Follow David Slade on Twitter @DSladeNews.