A major cargo fire has forced a Seaspan Corp-owned post panamax container ship to take refuge in the Port of Colombo.

The 8,586-teu Zim Charleston (built 2011) suffered a major fire in the Indian Ocean on 8 August.

The incident only recently emerged after container cargo claims handling specialist WK Webster alerted shippers this week.

The vessel’s operator Zim confirmed the incident. It said owner Seaspan is in control of the recovery operations.

Zim added it had been informed by the owner that the location of the blaze indicates the fire is likely linked to a hazardous cargo.

“According to information received from the owner, the fire took place under deck in a dangerous goods hold (DGH) and first response to the fire was carried out by the vessel's crew,” Zim said in a statement.

WK Webster said that it understands the fire broke out in cargo hold four. It estimated around 300 containers may have been damaged in the incident by fire or smoke or the water used in firefighting operations.

There are no indications when the vessel might sail. Zim said the incident is still under investigation and is in the “first response stage.”

The Zim Charleston is listed as having protection and indemnity cover with North P&I Club. It is understood that the Marshall Islands-registered vessel is entered into the North P&I through the China P&I Club.

The incident is the second major fire to affect Zim in recent years. A fire on the Danos Corp-owned 4,253-teu Zim Kingston (built 2008) off the Port of Vancouver in October 2021 led to the loss of more than 100 containers overboard and caused additional fire damage.