Public hearing slated on fatal Port Newark ship fire

(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Coast Guard, in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), is scheduled to conduct a formal public hearing Jan. 10-18 to consider evidence related to the fire that occurred aboard the Italian-flagged cargo vessel Grande Costa D’Avorio while docked at Port Newark, N.J.

The hearing will be open to the public, as well as broadcast live and recorded, to ensure public access and participation with the proceedings, which will be held at the Union Township City Council Chambers at 1976 Morris Avenue in Union, N.J.

The formal hearing is scheduled to be conducted Jan. 10-12 and Jan. 16-18. The hearing is scheduled to convene daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A more specific schedule, live stream link, fact sheets and biographies, along with future news releases, will be posted on the hearing website.

The fire aboard Grande Costa D’Avorio occurred at Port Newark during cargo loading operations July 5, 2023.

New York City Fire Department personnel respond to the fire aboard Grande Costa D’Avorio in Port Newark, N.J., on July 6, 2023. U.S. Coast Guard photo

The hearing will focus on the condition of Grande Costa D’Avorio prior to and at the time of the fire, the cargo loading process for vehicles at the Port Newark, initial response actions by the ship’s crew, and response to the fire by local land-based fire departments.

The Coast Guard has provided an email address for the public and interested parties to provide information, ask questions and make comments related to the ongoing investigation and scheduled hearing. This email will be checked regularly and all correspondence will be acknowledged. The email address is Please use subject line “Newark ship fire.”

The Grande Costa D’Avorio marine casualty met the requirements for a formal investigation level of effort due to the loss of two Newark firefighters’ lives during the response and the significant damage to Grande Costa D’Avorio. The Coast Guard First District commander, Rear Adm. John Mauger, initiated a district formal investigation under 46 CFR 4.07-1.

This was influenced primarily by the potential lessons to be derived from the casualty for public interest. Investigations of marine casualties and accidents, and the determinations made from them, are generally for the purposes of taking appropriate measures for promoting safety of life and property at sea and are not intended to fix civil or criminal responsibility.

A formal investigation is composed of a specially designated lead investigating officer to serve as the presiding officer. Mauger also designated several specialists and technical experts to assist the lead investigating officer.

The Coast Guard is jointly conducting the investigation with the NTSB, with participation by the Italian General Directorate for Railway and Maritime Investigations (DiGlFeMa).

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Professional Mariner Staff