The UK Maritime Pilots Association is praising the actions of three ship pilots in preventing one of the world’s largest containerships from running aground in the Solent after a loss of engine power.
The incident reportedly took place on January 26 following the MOL Treasure’s recent call at the Port of Southampton. At 400-meters-long and carrying capacity of more than 20,100 TEUs, the ship is among the largest in the world.
The UKMPA described the incident in a statement posted to Twitter. The ship departed the Port of Southampton around 1100 local time with two pilots on board, identified as Captain Christopher Hoyle and Captain Neil Dunn.
About an hour into its passage through the Solent, the MOL Treasure developed a significant reduction in engine power. Thankfully an escort tug was with the vessel and the Southampton Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) sent another three tugs to assist.
“For 10 hours, whilst the Chief Engineer set about trying to identify the issue with the engines, Pilots Hoyle and Dunn worked with the tugs to keep the ship from drifting and grounding. This was only possible due to their unique understanding of the waters in this very tricky tidal area of the Solent,” the UKMPA said in its statement.
Eventually a third pilot, Captain Richard Harding, was brought on board to join the effort.
“Finally, shortly before midnight, after more than 10 hours with only significantly reduced power available, the MOL Treasure was safely maneuvered back to port,” the statement said.
The UKMPA praised the actions of everyone involved.
“Without the skills of Pilots working as a team with the Port’s maritime management team involving Harbour Masters, Tug crews, Southampton VTS, and the respective port management staff, the outcome could have been vastly different—a major international waterway blocked to trade possibly for weeks, pollution to a major waterway, serious injury or loss of life and significantly disruption to supply chains, were all averted,” the UKMPA said.
AIS data from MarineTraffic.com shows the MOL Treasure departed Southampton just before 2 p.m. today and is bound for Le Have, France.
The news from the UKMPA comes just a few weeks after a veteran UK ship pilot was killed during pilot transfer in northern England’s Humber estuary on January 8. The UKMPA identified the victim as Francesco Galia, a UK Maritime pilot with two decades of experience.
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