Another ‘Megaship’ Grounds in Europe

Mike Schuler
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February 14, 2016

APL Vanda file photo. Photo credit: Riemer

An ultra large containership had to make a controlled grounding in the Solent Saturday night while on its way to the port of Southampton, the second incident this month involving a so-called ‘megaship’ running into trouble in European waters.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it responded to the incident and reported that a large container ship executed a controlled grounding on the Bramble Bank after experiencing a loss of power Saturday night in Southampton Water. At time of update the vessel was already under tow and making its way to the Port of Southampton.

The ship is the 365 meter APL Vanda, a 2013-built ultra large container vessel (ULCV) with the capacity to carry 13,892 twenty foot equivalent units (teu). The incident occurred as the ship was sailing from Le Havre to Southampton.

The Coastguard reported that eight tugs were sent to assist the containership by Port of Southampton Vessel Traffic Services (VTS). No damage or pollution was reported, the Coastguard said.

The incident is the second grounding involving a so-called ‘megaship’ in European inland waterways in the past two weeks.

On February 3rd, the 19,100 teu vessel CSCL Indian Ocean ran aground on the River Elbe leading to the port of Hamburg. The Hong Kong-flagged ship spent six days hard aground before it was refloated with the help of 12 tugs early Tuesday morning. The cause of that incident is under investigation.

The 150,951 APL Vanda is one of ten highly efficient, 14,000 teu containerships ordered by APL in 2011 from Hyundai Heavy Industries. At the time the ships were touted as some of a the most fuel efficient in the world, with a new hull design optimized for slow steaming. At 369 meters long, the containerships are only slightly smaller than the 400 meter, 18,000 teu ships that are currently considered the world’s biggest.

APL is part of the container shipping arm of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, which was taken over by CMA CGM in December.

You may recall, the Bramble Bank is the same place where the MV Hoegh Osaka car carrier was intentionally grounded in January 2015 after the ship lost stability leaving the port of Southampton.

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