Mechanical problems caused an almost brand new container ship to ground in the busy Suez Canal in Egypt, and tugs to be deployed to remove the blockage.
Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL)-operated OOCL Japan grounded on sand in one of the world’s busiest seaways. A spokesman for the owner told Riviera Maritime Media that the vessel, which was christened in South Korea in September, “experienced mechanical problems and because of that, the ship went off course and was grounded”.
Local reports indicated that the ship was turned by the grounding to become perpendicular to the shipping fairway. The reports said another ship, Maersk Kimi, which was following was able to stop in time.
This occurred around 1200 on 18 October as the 21,413 TEU box ship was on route from Singapore to Felixstowe, UK. A fleet of tugs were deployed by Egyptian authorities and were able to refloat the ship from the sandy embankment within hours of the grounding.
OOCL confirmed that OOCL Japan was able to continue on its transit. “We are investigating on the actual cause,” said the spokesman.
OOCL Japan was built by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea and christened on 1 September. It is the third in a line of six 21,000 TEU class container ships.