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OOCL vessel blamed for crane collapse at Taiwan port

Second crane and several containers damaged in Port of Kaohsiung accident

An empty vessel struck a laden cargo ship and caused the collapse of a gantry crane, damage of another as well as more than two dozen containers and the injury of a worker at the Port of Kaohsiung in Taiwan on Thursday.

The Taiwan International Ports Corp. reported on its website that at 11:21 a.m. local time Thursday the OOCL Durban, “while maneuvering toward its assigned berth” at Wharf No. 66 at the Port of Kaohsiung, “collided with a stationary vessel berthed at Wharf No. 70 and a gantry crane at the same wharf. The incident caused the collapse of the gantry crane and the injury of a port worker, who was rushed to the hospital for treatment.”

American Shipper was unable to determine the condition of the worker, who reportedly was operating the crane when the collision occurred. But Port of Kaohsiung officials said he suffered a cut to the arm. Two crane maintenance workers were temporarily trapped but were said to have been rescued unharmed. 

An estimated 30 to 50 containers aboard the berthed cargo ship, identified as the YM Constancy, were damaged when it was struck by the OOCL Durban, port officials said. 

While the Yang Ming vessel “suffered minor damage, the gantry crane (GC8) experienced complete collapse and, during its fall, severely damaged a second, adjacent gantry crane (GC6),” Taiwan International Ports said.

“The original construction cost of the two affected cranes is approximately NT$600 million ($21.6 million),” it said. “The estimated value of the loss to the affected containers remains to be investigated.”

A report posted with multiple videos of the accident said local media was told the harbormaster’s office saw the Durban coming too close to the Constancy and issued a warning to adjust the direction and speed. 

Orient Overseas Container Line charters the Durban and acknowledged in a corporate message on its website that an “incident caused the collapse of the gantry crane and the injury of a port worker.” 

In its brief message, OOCL said the Durban was not carrying any cargo, no damage to the vessel hull had been observed and that the cause of the incident was under investigation. 

According to MarineTraffic, the OOCL Durban, with a carrying capacity of 8,476 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), had sailed to Taiwan from Shenzhen, China. In early May, the Durban had called ports in Australia.  

The YM Constancy, built just this year, has a carrying capacity of 2,940 TEUs. According to VesselFinder, it had called Shenzhen, Malaysia and Singapore before sailing for Kaohsiung. 

Responders inspect damage at the Port of Kaohsiung in Taiwan. (Port of Kaohsiung Authority)

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Click for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

Kim Link-Wills, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.

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