This saga starts when the ship loads metal turnings
in Chicago, 1979-08-22. US Courts subsequently found
that the cargo was loaded over temperature
and without being treated against combustion.
The ship then proceeded to New Haven to load more scrap
at which point it was discovered that the turnings were on fire.
The ship was moved to Newark
by which time the fire had spread to all holds.
Temperatures eventually reached in excess of 1100F.
The fires were eventually put out
and the entire cargo discharged.
This was finished 1979-11-09.
The vessel was on time charter,
and the time charterer, Luria Brothers, was liable
to the owners for repairs to the ship from the fire damage.
Luria then loaded the ship with heavy scrap for Japan,
in part because the cost of repairs would be much cheaper
than in the USA.
The ship left Newark on 1979-11-29 with 29 souls
including the Captain's wife and infant son.
She passed thru the Canal, bunkered at LA,
and proceeded across the Pacific.
On 1980-01-07, she sent out a distress call
saying "Indicate crack in No 5 hold. Water under control.
The Nichiin Maru responded and was told
that the AG had two large cracks in No 5 hold, a 5 degree list,
but she had the water under control.
Several hours later the AG said
one of the cracks was now 4 or 5 feet long.
The next day she sent out another distress signal
as the weather deteriorated to a full gale.
The signal said water was rushing into two holds.
In the early hours of January 11, she sank in view
of the Hoegh Miranda, but there were no survivors.
There is apparently no record of how much damage
the fire did to the structure nor of Class's role
in allowing the ship to sail.
For now CTX is calling this a simple Hull Failure,
but we probably have not got to the root cause.