Maersk containership runs aground

Written by Nick Blenkey
Maersk Mumbai aground

A second attempt to refloat Mumbai Maersk will be made on night high tide [Image: Havariekommando]

Initial efforts to refloat a 400 meter long Maersk containership that ran aground last night were unsuccessful. The vessel, the Mumbai Maersk was en route for Bremerhaven from Rotterdam when, at around 11.05 p.m. it grounded off the North Sea island of Wangerooge while approaching the mouth of the Weser River.

Overall command of operations to free the vessel, the 20,000 TEU Danish-flagged Mumbai Maersk, was assumed by Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (Havariekommando). It dispatched the multipurpose vessels Neuwerk and Mellum, along with five tugboats, to the scene.

A towing assistance team boarded the containership to provide support.

In the early hours of this morning a first attempt to tow the ship into the deeper fairway was unsuccessful. Initial plans were to make another attempt at noon today, However, reports broadcaster NDR, plans are now to make another effort on the night high tide at around midnight and two powerful tugs are en route from the Netherlands to assist in the effort.

NDR says that there are many indications that the ship may have suffered rudder damage. It report that “the pilot was already on board when the Mumbai Maersk suddenly drove in a circle and then apparently got out of control.”

Maersk released this statement:

We can confirm that on February 2 at around 23:00 CET, Mumbai Maersk ran aground outside Bremerhaven, Germany. All crew are safe, there is no pollution and no sign of hull breach. The vessel is on ground on a shallow patch and the entrance to the port is not obstructed.  

A first attempt to free the vessel has been performed unsuccessfully. Extra tugs are being deployed and a new attempt is expected when they are in place at the coming high tide around midnight on February 3. All affected customers are being informed. 

Mumbai Maersk has a capacity of 19.630 TEU (twenty foot equivalent containers) and was built in 2018. It sails under the Danish flag.”

UPDATE: The ship was successfully refloated,

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