Container Vessel Catches Fire While Transiting Panama Canal

The container vessel Cape Kortia on fire as it transits the Panama Canal. Photo via National Aeronaval Service.

A containership transiting the Panama Canal in late January caught on fire, the Panama Canal Authority confirmed Jan. 30.

The container vessel Cape Kortia, while moving toward the PSA port in the Pacific, reported a fire outbreak in the engine room, the Authority reported.

“Due to this incident another vessel was affected,” the Authority said in a statement. “The Cape Kortia remained briefly on its way to the Pacific Access Channel until it (was) removed by the Panama Canal staff.”

“These maneuvers occurred during its regular transit window and did not cause delays to vessels transiting the Panama Canal,” the Authority said. “The fire outbreak is under control. No injuries were reported during this incident.”

The Cape Kortia is a Malta-flagged vessel that was built in 2017. It is owned by Greek charter ship company Costamare and chartered to MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. The vessel has an overall length and breadth of 330.04 meters (1,082 feet) by 48.33 meters (158 feet). It has a carrying capacity is 11,000 TEU.

As of press time, the cause of the engine fire was still under investigation.