Officials seek cause of fatal Port Newark con-ro fire

(NEWARK, N.J.) – The U.S. Coast Guard, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Newark Fire Department and Gallagher Marine Systems, the representative for the ship operator, have established a unified command in response to the fire Wednesday aboard the cargo vessel Grande Costa D’Avorio in Port Newark.

The unified command’s operational priorities are ensuring the safety of the public and first responders, conducting fire suppression, protecting the environment, and ensuring any economic or operational activities in the port area are minimally affected.

On Thursday, firefighting crews continued to work to extinguish the fire, both from the pier and from waterside. Crews worked to gain access to the upper decks of the vessel, which is believed to be the primary source of the fire.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

As of Thursday afternoon, there have been two fatalities and six injuries sustained due to responding to the fire. Air quality monitoring is being conducted by the Newark Fire Department and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to ensure safe working conditions and public safety.

The container/roll-on, roll-off vessel (con-ro) was loading automobiles when the fire began. The crew immediately activated the onboard fire suppression procedures while the local fire department was alerted.

The vessel is reportedly carrying 1,200 vehicles and 157 containers that were scheduled to be exported. There are reportedly no electric vehicles or hazardous cargo aboard.

At this time, the cause of the fire is under investigation. A formal investigation will be conducted to identify what caused the fire, and all parties at the federal, state and local levels as well as the owners are working closely together during this process.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller