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OOCL mega-vessel runs aground in Suez Canal

Mechanical problems caused the 21,000-TEU containership OOCL Japan to run aground in the busy seaway, the Hong Kong-based ocean carrier has confirmed.

   Less than two months after it was christened, the Orient Overseas Container Line vessel OOCL Japan ran aground in one of the world’s busiest seaways.
   Mechanical problems caused the 21,000-TEU containership to ground at around noon local time on Oct. 18 in the Suez Canal in Egypt, OOCL has confirmed to American Shipper.
   The vessel, which was built by Samsung Heavy Industries and christened in South Korea on Sept. 1, “experienced mechanical problems and because of that, the ship went off course and was grounded in the sands,” OOCL spokesman Stephen Ng explained.
   According to local reports, the ship turned to become perpendicular to the shipping fairway before running aground.
   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.
   The vessel was en route from Singapore to Felixstowe, UK, and was being followed by another ship, Maersk Kimi, which was able to stop in time to avoid an even bigger incident, according to local reports. OOCL confirmed that the OOCL Japan was able to continue on its transit.
   “With the help of tug boats, the vessel was refloated within a few hours time and continued her transit through the canal,” Ng said. “We are investigating on the actual cause.”
   The OOCL Japan has been serving the Asia-Europe trade lane on the OCEAN Alliance’s French Asia Line 5 (FAL5/LL1) service, which was launched in April and has a port rotation of Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Yantian, Singapore, Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Gdansk, Wilhelmshaven, Felixstowe, Singapore, Yantian, and back to Shanghai on a 77-day round trip.
   The vessel, which is about 400 meters long (1,311 feet), has a breadth of 58.8 meters nearly 193 feet) and a depth of 32.5 meters (106.6 feet). The ship is the third in a line of six planned 21,000-TEU class vessels. The fourth, the OOCL United Kingdom, was christened in late September.