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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

Container ship accidents highlight collision risks

Fri 12 Jan 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

Container ship accidents highlight collision risks
Maersk Karachi was in a collision with Oguz Sofuoglu in the Black Sea

It is not even half-way through January, but there have already been at least 10 ship collisions, some of them fatal. These highlight the need for the shipping industry to improve navigation safety and bridge awareness.

Reports around the world of vessel collisions include an accident between a Maersk Line container ship and general cargo ship. On 9 January, 1998-built, 80,942 GT Maersk Karachi and 1985-built 1,995 GT Oguz Sofuoglu collided in the Black Sea.

Both ships were en route to Constantza, Romania when they struck one another 14 miles off the coast. Local reports indicated that both ships were damaged and AIS data showed that they remained in Constantza for inspections. Maersk Karachi was sailing from Chornomorsk, Ukraine to Constantza and Oguz Sofuoglu was en route from Diliskelesi, Turkey.

Another container ship was in an accident with a Russian naval ship in the region at the end of 2017. Russian news reports said container ship Orca 2 struck Russian landing vessel Yamal, of the Black Sea fleet, in the Aegean Sea, eight miles south of the island of Rhodes.

According to the Russian Navy, the Sierra Leone-flagged and 1991-built Orca 2 was at fault for heavily damaging Yamal on the port side as both were passing through the Karpathos Strait on 30 December.

Orca 2 was sailing from Alexandria, Egypt to Gemlik, Turkey on a parallel course to Yamal, which was en route from Syria to Sevastopol. It overtook the landing ship and made a sudden course change to starboard, which caused the collision, said the Russian Navy.

Both ships sustained undisclosed damages. However, Russia has drafted a notification of maritime protest over the accident as it claims the crew of Orca 2 acted in violation of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

There was also an accident between a cargo ship and a pilot service vessel in the North Sea this week. 2006-built general cargo ship Elke W and Wandelaar Pilot collided, causing damage to both, in thick fog, 11 miles off the Belgium coast. The 2,409 GT ship was en route to Antwerp from Southampton, UK when the accident happened as Wandelaar Pilot made a manoeuvre to drop off a pilot.

Earlier in January, reported on a number of accidents in Asia. This included when up to 10 seafarers died when 1994-built ship Chang Ping sank following a collision with freighter Xinwang 138 off Shanghai, China. Up to 32 seafarers are presumed dead after Iranian tanker Sanchi to collide with Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal in the East China Sea.

As of 12 January, Sanchi was still burning and had drifted into Japan’s exclusive economic zone. There were a number of accidents involving ships striking fishing vessels in Asia.

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