Additional details and the first pictures have emerged of the container collapse on the boxship ONE Apus in the Pacific. The full extent of the loss remains uncertain as it is too dangerous for the crew to enter the area while the ship remains at sea.
The container ship’s owners, Chidori Ship Holding, and managers NYK Shipmanagement provided a few additional details about the collapse and the current situation while cautioning that the priority at this time remains on getting the vessel and its crew safely to port. They are reporting that the Apus is proceeding “cautiously” toward Kobe, Japan with a current ETA on December 8.
The first images of the collapse are also appearing on social media coming from one of the crewmembers aboard. The companies have not released any official photos. The image circulating shows seven or eight bays collapsed with some containers hanging over the side of the vessel. It is apparently in the mid-ship region as undamaged stacks can be seen beyond the area of the collapse.
Oooh boy! Crew member shared a picture of the ONE Apus following reports of an estimated 1900 container lost or damaged. This could be the worst liner shipping disaster outside of total loss of vessel! pic.twitter.com/BmDxSSg5UG
— Connor Helm (@connorhelm) December 2, 2020
The companies also issued a slight revision to their prior estimates, saying that the lost and damaged containers are approximately 1,816 boxes, down from a prior estimate of more than 1,900. However, the estimate on the number of dangerous goods containers has been increased to 64 of the boxes.
It remains unclear how many containers fell overboard during the collapse which happened on the night of November 30 approximately 1,600 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. A large number of unstable containers also presents the risk of additional losses before the vessel reaches port.
The U.S. Coast Guard in Hawaii issued a precautionary warning to mariners due to the uncertainty of the situation. The companies said that a notification had been sent to the JRCC in Honolulu and Guam and that they continue to work with the JRCC in Honolulu. So far, there have been no reported sightings of the lost containers and it is uncertain how many may remain afloat after the accident.
“Once berthed, it’s expected to take some time to offload the dislodged containers that remain on board,” the companies said in their statement. “Then, a thorough assessment will be made on the exact number and type of containers that have been lost or damaged.”
The incident, which continues to have the potential to be the single largest loss by a container vessel that was not a casualty, is reported to have occurred in seas that were running 5 to 6 meters (16 to 19 feet) with winds at Force 4 on the Beaufort scale, which is termed a “moderate breeze” at speeds of 13 to 18 mph.
“Once the ONE Apus is in port and deemed safe, a full investigation will be conducted into this incident in conjunction with the Flag State and the relevant maritime authorities,” the companies said. The root cause analysis and investigation will look at all aspects of the situation, including the vessel’s routing, loading, equipment, and fitness for purpose in extreme weather.
Having entered service in 2019, the Apus is a new vessel. She is 138,6111 DWT with a carrying capacity of 14,000 TEU. She measures 1,194 feet in length with a 167-foot beam. She is registered in Japan.
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