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Press Release | Dec. 11, 2023

Coast Guard to hold public hearing for Newark ship fire

NEW YORK — The Coast Guard, in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board, is scheduled to conduct a formal public hearing in January to consider evidence related to the fire that occurred aboard the Italian-flagged cargo vessel Grande Costa D’Avorio while docked at the Port of Newark, New Jersey. 

The hearing will be open to the public, as well as broadcast live and recorded, to ensure public access and participation with the proceedings, which will be held in the greater Newark area. 

The formal hearing is scheduled to convene the week of Jan. 8 and continue through the week of Jan. 15. The exact dates and times will be shared closer to the scheduled hearing date.

The hearing will focus on the condition of the Grande Costa D’Avorio prior to and at the time of the fire, the cargo loading process for vehicles at the port of Newark, initial response actions by the ship’s crew, and response to the fire by local land-based fire departments. 

The fire aboard the Grande Costa D’Avorio occurred at the Port of Newark during cargo loading operations July 5, 2023.  

The Coast Guard has provided an email address for the public and interested parties to provide information, ask questions and make comments related to the ongoing investigation and scheduled hearing. This email will be checked regularly and all correspondence will be acknowledged. The email address is, please use subject line Newark ship fire.

The Grande Costa D’Avorio marine casualty met the requirements for a formal investigation level of effort due to the loss of two Newark firefighters’ lives during the response and the significant damage to the Grande Costa D’Avorio. The Coast Guard First District Commander, Rear Adm. John Mauger, initiated a “District Formal Investigation” under 46 CFR 4.07-1. 

This was influenced primarily by the potential lessons to be derived from the casualty for public interest. Investigations of marine casualties and accidents and the determinations made from them, are generally for the purposes of taking appropriate measures for promoting safety of life and property at sea and are not intended to fix civil or criminal responsibility. 

A formal investigation is composed of a specially designated lead investigating officer to serve as the presiding officer. Rear Adm. Mauger also designated several specialists and technical experts to assist the lead investigating officer. 

The Coast Guard is jointly conducting the investigation with the National Transportation Safety Board, with participation by the Italian General Directorate for Railway and Maritime Investigations (DiGlFeMa).

For updates on the hearing follow us in the Public Affairs Detachment New York News Room and X (formerly known as Twitter) @USCG_Tri_State