Transcript: Crew members trapped aboard Chinese ship burning off British Columbia

Written by CNN Staff Writer

Battling massive seas and toxic smoke, crews are battling a burning Chinese cargo ship off the coast of British Columbia.

The vessel has been burning for 36 hours, according to the Canadian Maritime Safety Authority. Crews, which include air, coast guard and military aircraft, battled the flames from the water and shore on Sunday and Monday.

A woman with severe burns is currently being transported to Vancouver General Hospital, according to CMAQ officials. The ferry company operated by China Yuchai International Trade Corporation (CYIC) has confirmed that three crew members are injured in the fire.

The Canadian High Commission has evacuated a baby from the area to a local hospital.

“The safety of those on board the stricken ship is of paramount importance and the British Columbia emergency response team has been providing assistance to help ensure their welfare,” said Peter Sandhu, deputy commissioner of CMAQ.

“Regrettably we cannot say where the people involved in the fire are from. It is under investigation,” he added.

Many parts of the ship are believed to be submerged, according to Chris M. Anstey, executive director of Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue.

Winds and currents are expected to bring the fire into the waters off Vancouver Island by Wednesday morning.

“The north-west winds are on our side right now … (but) that wind shift in the next 24 to 48 hours is going to bring the situation into our side,” Anstey said in a live interview with CNN.

“The tug boat that’s closest, a Canadian Coast Guard tug, will still be battling the situation, but our commercial tug may be close by. I suspect the next 48 hours is when we’ll watch the ship go under.”

Meanwhile, the vessel, called Dynamic Positioning Number 1, still sits in the area of Vancouver Island.

Crew members reportedly were considering moving the ship in order to extinguish the fire.

“From what we understand, the captain is considering that … and that the best way to control the fire is to move the ship, if that is doable, to safe waters,” Anstey said.

CYIC has agreed to pay for the extensive clean-up efforts.

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