On June 25, a Liberian-flagged container ship was found on fire off the coast of Sri Lanka. According to received information, the fire originated in the engine room of the MSC Messina ship during the transport of goods across the Indian Ocean; the request given to TCO is to approach and assist the vessel to a safe place quickly.  

Specifically, MSC Messina was on a journey from Colombo to Singapore; whilst the crew discovered an unusual incident from the engine room with a high smoke column and significant heat energy radiating to the surrounding area. More critical, one crew member couldn’t make it through the severe circumstance – despite all efforts to quickly put out the fire from the ship’s crews and the regional coast guard.

Picture 1: MSC Messina caught fire on the engine room

TCO received information on the afternoon of June 25, when the ship was stalled, adrift at sea, and 28 sailors (including the deceased crew member) were stuck onboard with little water and dry food.


Picture 2: crew members onboard was in a poor condition

Well-aware of the seriousness of the task, the 24/7 Rescue Team immediately formed up to discuss the situation, quickly assessed the case, worked out a rescue plan – including the solution to relocate the crew member’s body on board, and promptly contact partners and host country authorities to deploy as soon as possible.

Picture 3: Rescue team located the MSC Messina position.

AHTS TC Fortune and AHTS TC Vigour have been selected to participate in the campaign after completing service activities in India. In just over two days, TC VIgour quickly moved and promptly arrived at the ship’s accident location as planned. At the scene, TC Vigour assisted in cooling the vessel, providing items for the crew on board, as well as moving the body of the crew member in distress to preserve in a better environment.

Picture 4: AHTS TC Vigour and AHTS TC Fortune ready to on-hire

Picture 5: condition of MSC Messina at the scene (1) sources:

Picture 6: condition of MSC Messina at the scene (2), sources

Currently, TC Vigour has successfully handed over the ship to the supporting tug TC Fortune, and at the same time, TC Fortune has successfully completed the task of towing the Messina to Singapore. Despite being a successful operation, the TCO still kept a close eye on the loss of life in the course of maritime operations. We want to express our sincere condolences to the relatives of the passed away crew and wish all naval activities to be safe and sound.