From gCaptain ‘Significant’ Fire on Vehicle Carrier Sincerity Ace

That was

Cougar Ace was at sea south of the Aleutians.

Update: Coast Guard, responders continue search for 2 crew from Sincerity Ace

HONOLULU — Coast Guard, Navy and good Samaritans aboard two merchant vessels continue the search Tuesday for two crew from the ship Sincerity Ace following a fire 1,800 nautical miles (2,071 statute miles) northwest of Oahu.

“We are thankful for the assistance the crews of these merchant vessels have given us during this event significantly reducing possible response time,” said Lt. Duane Zitta, Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. “Their quick actions provided for the rescue of 16 members of the crew who would otherwise still be in the water and are continuing to aid us.”

Good Samaritans aboard four merchant vessels rescued 16 of the 21 crew Monday. Three of the five missing mariners reportedly were located but remain in the water as they are unresponsive and unable to grab onto life-saving equipment to be brought aboard. Search efforts are focused on the two remaining potential survivors in a search area of 5,832 square nautical miles (6,711 square statute miles).

An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew has re-deployed from Wake Island, following mandatory crew rest, to assist in the search and the crews of the Motor Vessel New Century 1 and Genco Augustus are actively searching the area. JRCC Honolulu watchstanders are continuing to identify merchant vessels in the area able to respond and assist.

The merchant vessel crews and a Navy 7th Fleet P-8 Poseidon aircrew continued to search overnight for the unaccounted-for members. The crew of the Green Lake, the SM Eagle, and the Venus Spirit have resumed their voyages.

Weather conditions on scene are reported as 15 to 18-foot seas and winds at 17 mph with reduced white caps improving visibility.

Involved in the search to date:

  • Two Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrews
  • A Navy 7th Fleet P-8 Poseidon aircrew
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Green Lake
  • Crew of the SM Eagle
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel New Century 1
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Venus Spirit
  • Crew of the Motor Vessel Genco Augustus

The owners of the Sincerity Ace are coordinating with the merchant vessels for the transport of the rescued mariners. The vessel is currently adrift on the high seas. A salvage plan is being formalized and commercial tugs have been dispatched by the company.

JRCC Honolulu received the initial notification from JRCC Japan at 1:04 a.m., Monday, of the situation. Watchstanders in Honolulu immediately issued a SafetyNet broadcast requesting the assistance of vessels in the area and directed the launch of the Hercules aircrews from Air Station Barbers Point. The master of the Sincerity Ace reported a significant vessel fire, ongoing firefighting efforts, and an intent to abandon ship.

The commercial vessels involved are part of the AMVER, or Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, a worldwide voluntary reporting system sponsored by the United States Coast Guard. It is a computer-based global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.


A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew flies over the 650-foot Sincerity Ace on fire 1,800 nautical miles northwest of Oahu in the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 31, 2018, and drops supplies to the 944-foot bulk carrier Genco Augustus. The Coast Guard coordinated with five volunteer vessels to rescue the crew over three days. Of the 21 crew, 16 were rescued, four were located unresponsive and one remains missing. (U.S. Coast Guard video by HC-130 Hercules 1720/Released)

Video here.


Was it my imagination or is water coming off the deck of the ship on fire? I wonder if the emergency generator is running and supplying a drencher or sprinkler pump?

Not your imagination. Stbd side, right forward.

Yes, I missed that. Most likely the ship has electrical power, a pump running and a valve open on the forward mooring deck.

Maybe for boundary cooling ??

Is that some crew on the bow, stbd side at 0:01?

Looks like two men in orange coats to me. In the frame by frame (, and . keys) it looks as though they’re standing slightly apart and then move together.

Not sure, might be crew members with orange immersion suits on, can be seen again at 0:29. Could be something else?

Could well be. All I can see at 0:29 is mush. But at 0:00 there could be several people standing out there.

I wonder how the crew got off.

This makes it sound that they were picked directly out the water:

Good Samaritans aboard four merchant vessels rescued 16 of the 21 crew Monday. Three of the five missing mariners reportedly were located but remain in the water as they are unresponsive and unable to grab onto life-saving equipment to be brought aboard

The port lifeboat can be seen still in the davits, can’t tell if the stbd one is there or not. I do see (at 0:00) on the stbd side what looks like a debarkation ladder down the side.

It looks like that there is a lift mechanism in a vertical recess in the hull. As long as electrical power is available the lift can be used for debarkation. Perhaps there is a manual back up system in case that the electric power fails.

It’s a side ramp that leads directly to a burning deck. The horizontal opening just aft is a gangway that is also inaccessible due to the fire.

Yes, you are right, I can see that now, it is a side ramp.

This is the situation at the stern.

gHere is the Cougar Ace: (from Halifax Shipping News blog)

It looks like the gangway/accommodation ladder is on 6 deck, (numbered from the bottom to top)

From this photo

Looks like a cargo fire. From the condition of the hull it looks like the fire might have started on 7 deck, most likely from an electrical short in a vehicle. Shorts cause damage early in the voyage as later the batteries go dead. Nissan, could have been an electric car? Or hydrogen?
From there the fire spread upwards.

The cargo spaces are divided into zones, each protected by the fixed firefighing system. Six deck would be a water and gas-tight boundary. The next boundary would be either 8 or 9 deck which is designed and built to contain the fire. In this case for whatever reason that boundary failed.

From the video heavy smoke can be seen coming from the accommodating space which suggests that the cargo fire on the deck below was not controlled and was hot enough to set the deck above on fire.

The accommodations and boats are on the same deck. If that deck was too hot for the crew that might explain how the four crew got cut off from the rest of the crew.

It may also explain why the crew was not able to launch a lifeboat, ship’s motion might have also been a factor but with a full load the GM would have been low with a slow roll. Depends on the wave period, a long 5 or 6 meter swell might be marginal but not outside launch parameters.

It is a bit strange, if it is a vehicle that is on fire, that only a sort of white smoke is showing and not also black smoke, especially from the tyres.


The white smoke was mentioned earlier in this thread. It was said it suggests that the fire was in a later stage, that seems correct.

What plausible explanation is there for the cargo areas be hot enough to burn the paint on the outside of the hull but no cargo fire?

From Halifax Shipping News again here is a video of a car ship fire. At first black smoke then more white during fire fighting efforts.

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Some good news East of Japan as the tug Koyo Maru is now towing Sincerity Ace back to port.

Quote from The Associated Press

Published: Jan 8th, 2019 - 4:41pm (EST)

Updated: Jan 8th, 2019 - 4:41pm (EST)

HONOLULU (AP) — A tugboat is searching for crew members who weren’t rescued when the ship they were on caught fire while transporting automobiles from Japan to Hawaii.

The Sincerity Ace had 21 crew members on board when the fire started last week. The crew members abandoned the burning vessel, which stretches 650 feet (198 meters).

Ships in the area rescued 16. Four were listed as unresponsive in the water. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for one missing crew member.

Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. owns the Panamanian-flagged vessel.

Company spokesman Darrell Wilson says tugboat crew members who arrived Monday are trying to find the remaining crew members before towing the ship.

He says vessels in the area are asked to look out for bodies.

Wilson doesn’t know if the ship is still burning.

I wonder if Darrell’s hoping Sincerity Ace will sink in deep water?

From the photos it looks like all the damage is above the freeboard deck (the deck with the stern ramp, gangway/accommodation ladder). Chances are there is no significant damage below the freeboard deck.

I’d say there very little chance the ship will sink.

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The track since Koyo Maru arrived.