The Real Story Behind Youtube’s Most Epic Ship Collision Video

On September 29, 2014, the 324-meter containership Colombo Express lost control and slammed into the side of the similarly-sized Maersk Tanjong during a transit of the Suez Canal, resulting in what has become one of Youtube’s most epic ship collision videos. 

The incident occurred when the Maersk Tanjong was clearing the Suez Canal Container terminal on the north end of the canal to join a second convoy, while the Colombo Express was already proceeding through at the same point, shipping sources confirmed at the time. 

The collision caused a 20-meter dent to the Colombo Express’ port bow and three containers were knocked from Maersk Tanjong, but no injuries or major environmental damage occurred as a result.

Colombo Express Damage
Colombo Express Damage

The cause of the collision has not been publicly disclosed, however, an AIS replay of the collision shows the Colombo Express was attempting to overtake the Maersk Tanjong when it lost control, leading some speculate some sort of bank cushion effect or possibly a mechanical failure was to blame. Others joke it was a personal grudge among the captains (possibly over cigarettes).

Built in 2005, the 8,749 TEU Colombo Express once held the title of the world’s largest containership before it was surpassed by the Emma Maersk about a year later. 

AIS Replay: Colombo Express Collides with Maersk Tanjong in Suez Canal