Cargo Ship Docks in Alaska after Lithium-Ion Battery Fire

The cargo vessel Genius Star XI which was carrying lithium-ion batteries and caught fire in December, departed in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on February 11, en route to its intended destination in San Diego, California.

To remind, the U.S. coast guard assisted the vessel on fire initially located approximately 225 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

There were no injuries to the 19 crew members aboard the 410-foot cargo vessel Genius Star XI. An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

The US. Unified Command managing the incident has stood down and all response operations have been completed. The vessel continued its voyage after it secured all cargo and completed a coast guard port state control inspection. 

The vessel’s voyage was delayed for several weeks after it experienced a fire in its cargo holds. The initial fire was reported on December 25, 2023, and a second fire was reported on December 28, 2023.

After the report of the second fire the vessel’s master directed the vessel to Dutch Harbor for further assessment. 

The vessel, carrying large industrial lithium-ion battery units, arrived, anchored, and later moored to a pre-positioned mooring buoy in Broad Bay near Dutch Harbor. 

The vessel’s owner activated its vessel response plan mobilizing incident management and salvage marine firefighting teams.

Several experts were engaged to provide consultation on the risks and specialized operations required to deal with the potentially damaged lithium-ion battery cargo.

A technical expert advisory group provided recommendations for operations as more was learned about the condition of the damaged cargo. A salvage firefighting team remained aboard the vessel throughout operations. 

After several weeks, the vessel was brought along dockside at the Unalaska Marine Center where operations continued to further triage, characterize, and repackage damaged battery components in specialized overpack drums.

Crews then began to re-secure the shifted and damaged cargo. No cargo was offloaded in Dutch Harbor. 

Community air monitoring was conducted during the incident with over 480,000 readings all showing normal atmospheric conditions.

A team of specialized expert battery technicians were mobilized to Dutch Harbor to further triage and re-secure the large industrial battery units. Crews completed recharging and installing the onboard CO2 system and the vessel was inspected to meet all safety requirements and regulations. 

“I am proud of the team’s accomplishments during this very challenging operation,” said Chris Graff, Incident Commander. “We operated in high winds, rain, and snow, working around dangerous cargo with no accidents or injuries, a true testament to the dedication, hard work, and commitment to safe work practices of all involved.”