Burning German container ship off Cornish coast a 'floating bomb'
A burning German container ship carrying an array of dangerous chemicals was sailing just 30 miles off the south coast of Cornwall last night amid fears of a major leak.
The stricken MSC Flaminia, described as a “floating bomb”, has been burning for seven weeks in the Atlantic Ocean after an explosion left a crewman dead and caused extensive damage to the vessel.
It was due to be towed to Germany after limping around international waters since early July but its crew are now awaiting a final coastal inspection and permission from High Shaw, the government’s salvage representative, to continue.
But last night it emerged that a Russian master mariner had published a list of dangerous chemicals online, which he claimed was aboard the 86,000 tonne vessel, currently about 30 miles south of Land's End.
Amid fears of a major leak, Mikhail Voytenko, the former editor-in-chief of the online Sovfrakht Marine Bulletin, claimed the cargo in 149 containers was classed as hazardous, corrosive or flammable.
Among its contents were liquid polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], the pesticide isopropylamine, nitromethane, a fuel used in the Oklahoma City bombing, phosphorus, liquid amines and sodium.
"MSC Flaminia is actually a big chemical, toxic and miscellaneous dangerous substances floating bomb,” said Mr Voytenko, who fled from Russia in 2009 and is now exiled in Bangkok, Thailand.
“No wonder crew fled the vessel, no wonder EU states fear MSC Flaminia is just short of being a nuclear device ready to explode."
According to the Maritime Bulletin: "The number of the containers with dangerous goods seems to be unusually high, many of them are NOS – Not Otherwise Specified".
There were 1,247 tonnes of heavy crude oil and 680 tonnes of diesel on board when the accident occurred, according to the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies.
German authorities have said the ship had 2,876 containers on board at the time of the explosion, of which 151 held flammable cleaning fluids. SEE VIDEOS