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Lithium-Ion Battery Fire Burns in Cargo Ship’s Hold for Days Off Alaskan Coast

Lithium-Ion Battery Fire Burns in Cargo Ship’s Hold for Days Off Alaskan Coast

EV Fire News: Two of Detroit’s Big Three automakers have had EV-related factory fires in recent months.

Last summer, I reported that tugboats finally towed a cargo ship that had burned on the North Sea for a week while carrying thousands of cars, nearly 500 supposed electric vehicles (EVs), into a Dutch port for salvaging. There were serious concerns that the damaged ship could sink and impact shipping lanes.

There was a similar incident that occurred off the Alaskan coast.

The authorities on Saturday continued to assess how to fight a fire that broke out two days ago aboard a cargo ship that is carrying nearly 2,000 tons of lithium-ion batteries and was ordered to remain off the Alaskan coast.

The U.S. Coast Guard said there were no injuries to the 19 crew members aboard the vessel, Genius Star XI, and that it remained seaworthy.

The exact cause of the fire was not known and remains under investigation. The Coast Guard was not immediately able to confirm who owns the vessel or say what other cargo it is carrying. The ship’s point of origin and destination were unavailable.

The fire broke out in cargo holds where lithium-ion batteries, which contain highly flammable materials, were being stored.

As an environmental health and safety professional, I must admit that the lack of information about the vessel and its contents is disturbing. Lithium-ion batteries can burn with intense heat, especially when in contact with water. These items are highly regulated as hazardous materials during transportation.

Fortunately, the U.S. Coast Guard now reports that the fire was out and has directed the ship to anchor near Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

The 19 crew members of the ship, Genius Star XI, were uninjured and technicians from the Salvage and Marine Firefighting team remain onboard to ensure the fire doesn’t return, according to a Coast Guard press release.

“This protected anchorage … will allow the vessel to remain stable, minimizing risk of any re-flash of the fire as we continue our response,” Capt. Chris Culpepper said in the press release, which said an investigation into the fire’s origins will begin once response efforts wrap up.

Genius Star XI was shipping lithium-ion batteries from Vietnam to San Diego. The crew alerted the Coast Guard early Thursday morning to the fire, after pumping carbon dioxide into hold No. 1 — where the blaze began — and sealing it, fearing an explosion.

Interestingly, two of Detroit’s Big Three automakers have had EV-related factory fires in recent months, and the third had to pause production of a popular model to figure out a battery fire issue.

Stellantis reported a fire at its Chrysler Tech Center in the Detroit area in November last year, but we’ve just now learned that it was related to an EV prototype. Automotive News reported that the November 19 fire came from a vehicle parked on a lift. “Crews made their way to the vehicle and found it with active fire underneath the vehicle and under the hood,” a fire report noted.

Firefighters and employees removed the vehicle with a forklift, and no injuries or structural damage were reported. Officials still don’t know the exact cause of the fire, but the report stated that workers believed it could have been related to a coolant issue.

Crosstown rival General Motors halted production at its Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck in December due to a fire. The facility produces both forms of the GMC Hummer EV and the Chevrolet Silverado EV. That fire is still under investigation, but early reports lean toward a forklift puncturing a battery materials container as the cause. Early in 2023, Ford had to shutter production of the F-150 Lightning after the electric pickup caught fire in a holding lot. The Blue Oval worked with its battery supplier to revise cell production and fix the issue.

And while climate cultists and their media minions push the narrative that EV battery fires are less common…there are also fewer EVs than gasoline-fueled vehicles. Furthermore, fighting fires involving these batteries poses significant challenges.

An electric vehicle crashed and caught fire Monday night in Autauga County.

According to the Pine Level Fire Department, units were called to a traffic accident with a vehicle fire around 11:15 p.m.

At the scene, firefighters found a Tesla Model Y in flames. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency was already on the scene and had closed the interstate.

…Firefighters say due to the thermal runaway of the Tesla’s battery, the fire required over 36,000 gallons of water before it was brought under control in a little over an hour.

Pine Level Fire Chief Austin Worcester said a typical car fire can take between 300 to 1,000 gallons to put out, depending on how advanced the vehicle is. He said the extra water needed in this case was “typical of an electric vehicle fire.”

There is technology that can help reduce the amount of water needed to put out an electric car fire, but the chief said it is too expensive for the volunteer fire department.

The climate cultist elites intend to push the narrative of a “water crisis.” Arguably, if water is so precious, it is wiser to use a technology that utilizes 36X less water in emergencies and provides life-essential carbon dioxide as well.


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So, a technology that produces an extreme fire hazard, exploits children in foreign countries to mine, less effective than the fuel source it is replacing, and merely displaces the sources of pollution to a more polluting source is considered “good” for the environment and the Earth?

It is only good for virtue signaling and allowing the government to control your travel.

Typical leftist “thinking.”

    BierceAmbrose in reply to Dimsdale. | January 3, 2024 at 9:15 pm

    Ludicrous levels of toxic byproducts from materials and manufacturing. No good disposal options. Limited operational life.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | January 3, 2024 at 9:22 am

Cripes, aren’t most of the manufacturers of EVs already taking a big loss for every one built? Imagine if they have to do something extra expensive to ship them safely, which it seems to me they’re gonna have to do.

Gonna need to have insurance riders specifically for the risk of the batteries as well as up the vehicle registration/tax on EV for additional potential costs of firefighting. That’s in addition to putting an imputed mileage cost at registration to compensate for avoided road use fees; aka fuel tax. The free riding for EV must end.

Gas fires can be very easy to put out if you smother them. No O2, no fire. Battery fires are more like a thousand very tightly wound springs packed in a box. They don’t require an outside resource to burn, and once a single cell begins to go, it ruptures nearby cells, which rupture more nearby cells. They’ll burn in a completely O2-less environment, and water only releases more reactant to ignite. Foam doesn’t even get to the reacting site and if it did, see above comment about not needing O2 to burn. Think of it in nuclear terms as a Positive Void Coefficient.

In short, EV batteries will need to be redesigned for fire resistance and fire fighting. Individual cells isolated from each other with possibly a water/CO2 conduit on the outside of the car that the fire fighters can shove a hose into and flush the battery pack directly might be a good spot to start. ‘Melt free’ cells might be another, where an ignited cell melts the bottom out of its collection and falls to the ground before it can ignite others.

    Ironclaw in reply to georgfelis. | January 3, 2024 at 3:15 pm

    Well that’s quite an interesting idea, having cars drop burning grenades onto the road so that they can explode other people’s cars

EV battery-run vehicle:
another scam just like COVID-19
as someone far more brilliant than I once said, “Follow the money.”
take a look and find out which politicians got rich from the EV scam and then do what logic dictates

Subotai Bahadur | January 3, 2024 at 1:49 pm

Just in passing, the GENIUS STAR XI is being held off of Dutch Harbor, Alaska which is way out back of beyond. About the only thing out there since WW-II has been the base for the crab fishing fleet as noted on a certain TV show. The different species of crabs migrate through in that region.

Crabs are, of course, bottom feeders and end up eating pretty much any sea life that dies and sinks to the bottom. Which means that any sea life that gets contaminated by the effluvia of the fire will end up in the stomachs of the crabs. Which kills not only the more famous crab fishery, but also the fishery for the contaminated sea life.

But all of this is worthwhile to the Left so long as they can have the bleak future that Dimsdale so accurately describes above.

Subotai Bahadur

    What is it with the Dutch and having EVS burn down cargo ships? I remember that one off the coast of the Netherlands being called the USS Dutch Oven

It seems to me that for insurance purposes lithium ion batteries will end up banned from oceanic shipping much like they’re banned from air shipping.

I don’t understand why fire departments are dumping water on a lithium, they should be treating them as they would chemical fires. Tri class will put out a lithium fire., I knew better than to put water on one I had, and did successfully extinguish the fire,

    Ironclaw in reply to JohnSmith100. | January 3, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    Well, since you can’t starve them of oxygen by smothering them, the only way that put them out is to deprive them of heat and that’s what the water is for. Lithium ion battery fires are fiendishly difficult to put out because not only is the electrolyte very flammable, but when it degrades due to the Heat it releases oxygen so you have heat, fuel and oxygen all from the same source.

It’s OK. It’s been too damn chilly this month, and the globe needs considerably more warming.

“Genius Star XI was shipping lithium-ion batteries from Vietnam to San Diego.”

Why is this ship in Alaska? Seems like it strayed 3,000-4,000 miles off course.

    henrybowman in reply to Diana. | January 4, 2024 at 1:05 am

    It’s probably also shipping more than one thing per trip.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Diana. | January 4, 2024 at 3:22 pm

    My guess, and I emphasize guess, is that the Genius Star XI was on a clockwise circle of the Pacific basin, Vietnam to one or more Chinese ports, Japan, Korea, Alaska, and down to our west coast. Maybe down to Mexico and Central and South American ports. The more shipments and stops, the more profitable the voyage.

    Subotai Bahadur