Cargo ship carrying lithium ion batteries ordered to continue to Alaska despite a fire in cargo hold

This photo shows a view of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. “Unisea Inn, Dutch Harbor” by PoweredbyLycoming is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) – A cargo vessel carrying lithium-ion batteries has been ordered to continue to Alaska after a fire was reported in its cargo hold.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Friday the fire is contained but ongoing. The 410-foot (125-meter) cargo ship Genius Star XI was directed to continue to the port at Dutch Harbor, Alaska. A Coast Guard airplane and the Coast Guard ship Alex Haley were sent to assist.

The ship was located about 225 miles (362 kilometers) southwest of Dutch Harbor when they reported the fire early Thursday morning, the guard said in a release.

It was not immediately known if there were injuries, how many crew members were aboard the vessel or when it would arrive at Dutch Harbor, which is one of the nation’s busiest fishing ports. The Coast Guard’s Alaska division office in Juneau didn’t immediately return an email Friday afternoon.

When the ship does arrive, it will remain offshore as response crews prepare to assist, the Coast Guard release said.

“This will be an ongoing team effort as we work to safely extinguish the fire, provide any necessary medical care for the crew, and mitigate the dangers associated with a shipboard fire,” Capt. Chris Culpepper, commander of Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, said in the release.

The guard will investigate the cause of the fire.

The Genius Star XI left Vietnam on Dec. 10 en route to Dutch Harbor, according to the Marine Traffic website. The ship with a carrying capacity of more than 13000 tons (11,793 metric tonnes) sails under the flag of Panama.

It is owned by Wisdom Marine Group of Taipei, Taiwan. An email was sent to the company seeking comment.