Fire on board of boxship Maersk Kampala, AIS off, why?

Vessel should be visible on AIS trackers, but there is no signal since morning Aug 28.

Maersk Line said on Aug 29 13 that the Maersk Kampala was fighting a fire in two containers within the foremost bays on deck. The vessel is fully maneuverable but drifting south of the Suez Canal. All crew are accounted for and no injuries reported and communication with the vessel is ongoing. Tug boats with fire-fighting capability are on the scene fighting the fire. In addition, a fire fighting team was to arrive in the evening to provide further assistance.

Comment:

Let’s hope that the fire is what it is said to be, just two containers in the fore section, but there is something which hints at a more serious situation than described in Maersk statement. Vessel left Jeddah on Aug 27 at 01:24 UTC according to AIS-Satellite, bound for Suez, proceeding at a speed of 16.5 knots. ETA Suez therefore, is about 1300-1400 UTC Aug 29. Vessel should be visible on AIS trackers, but there is no signal since morning Aug 28. As of morning Aug 30, there is still no signal. Vessel should be drifting somewhere off Suez, well in the range of AIS trackers. Assumingly, AIS is off. Why? Either because Maersk just don’t want vessel to be tracked by anyone interested, understandably trying to avoid unwanted publicity, or because AIS system is inoperable. If the latter is the case, it can be explained only by fire being still on, or damages inflicted by hopefully, extinguished by now fire, of a much bigger scale than stated.

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