With initial repairs complete, the giant container ship Emma Maersk is now under tow from Port Said. She is on her way to a European port where the ship will undergo a thorough inspection and full repairs following an engineering casualty which left her stranded near the Suez on 2 February.
Palle Laursen, Maersk Line’s Head of Ship Management in Copenhagen, commented, “We are delighted that Emma is on the route back towards full service. However, this only the beginning of a long journey – once she gets to the repair facility it will still be several months before repairs are completed.”
“The efforts of the crew, the local Maersk Line, SCCT, and Svitzer organisations and the underwater repair teams should be fully recognised in enabling this. We also appreciate the full support of the Suez Canal Authority in making this happen so quickly.”
Background, via Maersk Line
On 1 February 2013, Emma Maersk, currently Maersk Line’s largest container vessel, experienced an ingress of water into the engine room. She had just commenced her southbound transit through the Suez Canal en route to Asia. The captain decided to terminate the planned voyage and go alongside the nearby Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT). Whilst the exact cause of the incident is still being investigated, it has been confirmed that the water came in through a breach in the stern thruster tunnel.
According to Captain Marius Gardastovu, there was never any real danger or panic at any point. “Of course it is a shocking experience when you look back and consider what could have happened,” he says. “But given the circumstances, everything was handled as well as possible because of a close-knit crew who knew exactly what to do.”
She was loaded with containers equivalent to 13,537 TEU of which 6,425 were full.
Alternative arrangements for the cargo have been made whereby sensitive cargo was loaded onto Maersk Line’s existing network shortly after the incident. Further contingencies and schedules have been finalised as part of the cargo was loaded on Maersk Kotka (16B/1301) on 11 Feb, some of the cargo were loaded on CC Medea (3FO/933E) on 12 Feb, and the remaining eastbound cargo will be loaded onto Maersk Kokura (98A/1305) on 18 Feb.
The developments are being monitored continuously to ensure minimal impact to customers. Maersk Line’s operations teams are working in close coordination with the local customer and sales representatives to keep customers updated on the developments.
Maersk Line is able to reorganise its fleet without chartering replacement tonnage. The 9,660 TEU 48Y-Butterfly will replace Emma Maersk on the AE10 Asia-Europe service until she is ready to re-enter service.
About the Emma Maersk
The Emma Maersk is an advanced container ship and amongst the very largest in her class. She was launched at the end of 2006 and sails on a regular route between the Far East and Europe through the Suez Canal.
She sails approximately 170,000 nautical miles a year, corresponding to 7½ times around the world.
Images courtesy Maersk Line