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Marine transportation safety investigation M21P0297

Table of contents

Fire aboard container vessel

ZIM Kingston
Constance Bank, British Columbia

The occurrence

On 06 October 2021, the Zim Kingston container ship departed Busan, South Korea, bound for the Deltaport container terminal in Delta, British Columbia. The vessel was loaded with 30 552 tons of cargo, including containers with dangerous goods, such as thiourea dioxide and xanthates.

During the voyage, the vessel’s scheduled arrival time was revised several times due to changes in berthing space availability at the Deltaport. To compensate for the change in schedule, the vessel altered its speed. In addition to the change in the berthing time, between 11 and 12 October 2021, the vessel’s speed and route were adjusted to avoid a storm that had developed along the original intended route.

On 21 October 2021, the Zim Kingston arrived near La Perouse Bank, outside of the Victoria Traffic Service (VTS) zone. It remained outside the VTS zone, navigating in a set pattern, while awaiting its scheduled arrival time. During this time, the winds reached upwards of 40 knots, and the swell heights reached around 5 m. Very late in the day, as the vessel was heading north and the wind and waves coming from the southwest, the vessel rolled heavily. As a result, 109 containers fell overboard and others were damaged.  

Following the loss of containers, and after receiving approval from Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS), the Zim Kingston proceeded to the Constance Bank anchorage. As it proceeded to the anchorage, the crew began assessing the severity of the damage.

On 23 October 2021 at 1028, while anchored, smoke was observed coming from near Bay 14.  The smoke was checked immediately and fire response started.

MCTS Victoria was notified by the vessel, and crew onboard worked to contain the fire. Three firefighting tugs and a salvage contractor then arrived on scene to help extinguish the fire. As a precaution, sixteen crew members were evacuated from the vessel, while five crew members, including the master, remained on board. The fire was eventually contained and extinguished on 28 October.

A subsequent inspection revealed that the forward hatch cover of the vessel near Bay 14 was deformed, several containers onboard were damaged due to the failure of securing arrangements, and others were damaged by the fire that followed.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigation into the occurrence is ongoing.

Zim Kingston investigation update – June 2023

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is wrapping up the Examination and Analysis Phase of its investigation (M21P0297) into the 21 October 2021 loss of containers while drifting at sea, off Vancouver Island, and subsequent fire, near Constance Bank, British Columbia.

During the Examination and Analysis Phase, the TSB reviewed physical evidence, photos, and other data from the vessel supplemented with information from regulators, pollution response teams, and other shore-based personnel. The TSB also worked with the National Research Council of Canada to develop a scale model of the vessel that underwent physical testing on the motion and environmental conditions during the occurrence.

With the conclusion of the Examination and Analysis Phase, the investigation moves into the Report Phase. The investigation report will be completed and reviewed by the Board and, once approved, will be sent to designated reviewers on a confidential basis for comment. The Board considers all the designated reviewers’ comments and amends the report as required. Once the Board approves the final report, it is released to the public on the TSB website and through traditional and social media.

Media materials

Deployment notice


TSB deploys team of investigators following the October 23 fire on the container vessel ZIM Kingston near Victoria, BC

Richmond, British Columbia, 3 November 2021 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to Victoria, BC, following the fire on the container vessel ZIM Kingston. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Zillur Rahman

Zillur Rahman began his career as an engineering cadet and currently holds a Transport Canada Class-1 (Motor) Certificate of Competency. In his 25 years of experience as an engineer, he has held several positions both sea-going and shore-based, with such companies and organizations as: Neptune Orient Lines (now American President Lines); Mediterranean Shipping Company; Barber Ship Management; and BC Ferries. His experience includes work with tankers, chemical tankers, bulk carriers, container ships, and roll-on-roll-off passenger ferries.


Class of investigation

This is a class 2 investigation. These investigations are complex and involve several safety issues requiring in-depth analysis. Class 2 investigations, which frequently result in recommendations, are generally completed within 600 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.