The chinese fishing trawler wrecked off the antarctic coast is drifting towards open waters. The fire on board the "kai xin" has become weaker, the chilean navy announced on saturday. The 97 members of the ship’s crew were rescued on wednesday after the outbreak of the fire and transferred to a mother ship.
An explosion on board the trawler had thwarted an attempt to tow the ship on friday. A dinghy from the logistics ship skyfrost had approached to thaw the ship, but was forced to abandon its plan after a powerful explosion in the engine room.
The "kai xin" is slowly moving northeast out of the bransfield trabe, on the western coast of the antarctic peninsula, into the open waters of the drake trabe, said frigate captain juan villegas in a telephone conversation with the dpa news agency from the chilean navy’s antarctic base on king george island. The distance of the ship to the nearest coast point, the fildes peninsula of king george, is around 40 kilometers.
The officer is responsible for chilean monitoring of southern waters.
Villegas explained that he had ordered the "skyfrost" to try to cool the deck of the "kai xin" with its cargo outfitting. The chilean ocean-going tug "lautaro", which has left punta arenas, is expected to collide with the damaged vessel on sunday at noon (local time). The calm weather favored a towing maneuver on the bransfield strabe. On the other hand, on the drake trawl, the high swell made the thawing of the wrecked ship difficult.
There is no longer any immediate danger of the "kai xin" sinking because of friday’s explosion. However, overheating of the hull steel can impair its resistance to minor collisions with ice floes, villegas explained. Fortunately, there is very little floating ice on the bransfield strait at the moment.