On Monday 16 April, a fire broke out in the engine room on board DFDS’ ro-ro freight ship Finlandia Seaways, which connects Rosyth in Scotland and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
An injured crew member was airlifted to hospital, where he is being treated for injuries caused by smoke inhalation.
The ship was towed to DFDS’ terminal in Immingham, where the cargo on board has been discharged, and where DFDS had the opportunity to carry out an inspection of where the fire took place.
“The inspection revealed substantial damage to the ship’s engine room, and we estimate that it will be out of service for several months for repairs. Furthermore, our search for a replacement vessel was fruitless and revealed that there are no suitable ships available,” says Kell Robdrup, Senior Vice President of DFDS’ routes connecting to the southern part of the North Sea.
“Unfortunately, this will bring about further losses on the route, and it means that we have lost all hope of being able to turn around the route’s loss-making situation. Therefore, we have no alternative but to close the route as we undoubtedly will lose clients who will be forced to seek alternative solutions for their transport,” says Kell Robdrup.
“We are extremely sorry for the effect this has on our customers and partners in Scotland and Belgium. In cooperation with the Scottish Government and the port, we have tried everything in our power to save the route. This included going from a combined passenger and cargo ship to a freight ship, reducing costs by enabling double stacking of containers and reducing fuel costs by installing a scrubber to remove sulphur from the exhaust gas instead of using expensive, low-sulphur fuel. However, the route continued to make losses. And with the new situation with the ship out of service for months, the market, the customers and the financial situation will be negatively affected, and make a turnaround and a reopening unrealistic,” he says.
The closure will only affect a very limited number of people employed by DFDS as port handling was performed by external companies.
DFDS has not made any decisions yet as regards the deployment of Finlandia Seaways when she returns from her repair docking.
Following the closure of the Rosyth – Zeebrugge route, DFDS connects the UK with the Continent via ten routes.