Major Damage to Maersk Line Ship Involved in Collision Off China

Safmarine Meru. Credit: Maersk Line
Safmarine Meru. Credit: Maersk Line

A major collision over the weekend involving two containerships off Ningbo, China caused severe damage to both ships and fire on board one of them.

No serious injuries to the crews of either vessel were reported.

The collision involved the Maersk Line-owned containership Safmarine Meru and the Northern Jasper, a German-owned containership.

Maersk Line confirmed in a statement provided to gCaptain that the incident occurred early Sunday morning (May 8 local time) approximately 120 nautical east of Ningbo. The collision caused severe damage to the Safmarine Meru and a fire broke out. Its crew of 22 people abandoned the vessel shortly afterwards.

Maersk Line said received confirmation a few hours later that all crew were safe.

Photos online show damage to the Safmarine Meru’s port side just aft the ship’s superstructure. 

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The crew of the Northern Jasper remained on board the vessel following accident, but were to be transferred to shore and provided with medical support and crisis counseling.

“We are very relieved that our crew are safe and have not suffered any serious injuries. The safety of our people, at sea and on shore, is paramount to us,” says Palle Brodsgaard Laursen, Head of Ship Management in Maersk Line.

Safmarine Meru remained afloat and was anchored as firefighting was initiated Sunday morning. “While there is no visible fire, there is smoke and firefighting continues,” Maersk Line said Sunday.

The Chinese authorities were on the scene.

“It is too early to comment on the circumstances surrounding the collision and fire. Our focus now is to put the fire out and get access to the vessel to assess damage to the vessel and cargo,” added Palle Brodsgaard Laursen.

The 4,650 TEU Safmarine Meru was sailing from Qingdao to Ningbo, China with less than 400 full containers on board when the incident occurred. The Hong Kong-flagged ship was built in 2006 is deployed on Maersk Line’s TP18 service. Safmarine is wholly-owned subsidiary of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group specializing in container shipping primarily in Africa and West Central Asia.

The 8,814 TEU Northern Jasper was built in 2009 and is owned by Norddeutsche Reederei.

An AIS recreation of the incident from Vessel Finder is provided below: