Water cannon aimed at container ship that has been burning for five days

A big Belgian tug is using a high-powered water cannon to extinguish a fire aboard a container ship that has been burning off Canada's east coast for the past five days.

A spokesman for the international shipping company Hapag-Lloyd says the 320-metre container ship Yantian Express is about 1,300 kilometres from Halifax, its intended destination.

Tim Seifert says the 71-metre offshore supply vessel Smit Nicobar is carrying all 22 members of the container ship's crew, none of whom were injured after the fire started inside a container on Thursday, then spread to several other containers.

Seifert confirmed the fire is still burning among containers on the ship's forward deck, though he did not provide details about the extent of damage, the cause of the fire or what the ship is carrying.

The German company, based in Hamburg, had previously said there were 23 crew members aboard the ship, including eight officers and 15 seafarers.

Seifert now says there are 14 seafarers among the 22 crew members, including two from Germany, three from Poland and 17 from the Philippines.