Tug heading toward disabled container ship off N.S. that caught fire

A tugboat is nearing a large Halifax-bound container ship that has been burning for days, with plans to tow it about 1,500 kilometres to the Nova Scotia port.

A spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard says the Maersk Mobiliser from Newfoundland is en route to the Yantian Express, which has been dealing with a container fire since Thursday.

Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup says it wasn't clear what time the tug was expected to arrive on site, but that it was about 80 nautical miles northwest of the disabled ship early Monday and planned to eventually tow it to Halifax.

All 23 crew members have been moved onto the Smit Nicobar, an offshore support tug from Belgium that arrived on the scene Friday night and is equipped with fire monitors to provide ongoing firefighting support.

The 320-metre container ship was travelling from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Halifax on Thursday when a fire started inside a container on the ship's forward deck, but there were no reports of injuries.

The blaze then spread to several other containers, and coast guard officials in Boston received a call for help early Friday.