Powerful Storm Sets Ships Adrift at Sydney’s Port Botany

Mike Schuler
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October 15, 2014

Photo credit: Sydney Morning Herald via Twitter

It was a wild and dangerous night Tuesday in Sydney, Australia as a powerful storm caused two large containerships to break free their moorings, among other damage.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the 4,600 TEU Hapag Lloyd containership, MV Kiel Express, broke free from its moorings in strong winds Tuesday evening at Port Botany, located just south of downtown Sydney in Botany Bay. The drifting vessel then reportedly cut the bow mooring line of the OOCL Hong Kong before pinning itself against a third vessel, all as tugboats tried to gain control of the situation.

The report says that OOCL Hong Kong sustained some damage to its stern after its bow swung out in the wind and its stern rammed against the pier.

Photos from the scene show the MV Kiel Express side-by-side against the MV Safmarine Makutu, another 4,100 TEU containership that was moored nearby. The report states that a responding tug was nearly pinned between the two vessels.

The stronger-than-forecasted storm wreaked havoc across Sydney and surrounding area overnight Tuesday, producing destructive winds reaching up to 100 m.p.h. at times, torrential rains, some snow, and a strong storm surge.

Port Botany is a deepwater seaport and is the second busiest container port in Australia.

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