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Hundreds of Troop-Owned Vehicles Possibly Damaged in Cargo Ship Fire

FILE -- Cars waiting to be shipped from Germany to America. U.S. personnel stationed overseas can ship vehicles to the United States free of federal tax and duty. (Chelsea Bissell/USAG Bavaria Public Affairs)
FILE -- Cars waiting to be shipped from Germany to America. U.S. personnel stationed overseas can ship vehicles to the United States free of federal tax and duty. (Chelsea Bissell/USAG Bavaria Public Affairs)

More than 350 troop- and family owned vehicles may have been damaged in a cargo ship fire last month, Defense Department officials said Tuesday.

The M/V Honor, operated by American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier, caught fire late Feb. 23 as it left Southampton, United Kingdom, on its way to the U.S.

Although the vessel's CO2 fire suppression system was deployed immediately, cargo on decks one and three, as well as the ship's upper deck, may have been damaged by smoke, fire, extreme heat or the suppression system itself, Fred Rice, a spokesman for the Pentagon's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, said in a statement.

The Honor was carrying 124 service member household goods shipments and 604 privately owned troop vehicles as part of permanent change of station moves from Europe to the U.S. None of the household good shipments were affected by the blaze, Rice said.

After the fire, the ship returned to Southampton under its own power to await inspection. The Honor restarted its trip from Southampton to the U.S. on Tuesday, with plans to follow its original delivery schedule down the U.S. East Coast. Vehicles damaged by the fire will be sent to one location for inspection, Rice said.

"The 353 vehicles requiring further inspection will be discharged at a single location, tentatively Brunswick, Georgia, where they will undergo a detailed assessment by a third-party inspector for claims offerings and/or release to the customer," he said.

Affected service members will be contacted by the DoD's shipment contractor, International Auto Logistics (IAL), with information on how to file claims, Rice said.

"IAL will provide information about inconvenience claims and reimbursement for damaged vehicles to impacted service members," he said. "Further details about claims procedures are available at www.PCSMyPOV.com."

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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Headlines Family and Spouse Autos Department of Defense PCS Amy Bushatz

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