11 DEC 2019
On Monday afternoon, the container ship APL Mexico City struck the gantry of an STS container crane at the port of Antwerp, causing the crane to collapse.
The APL Mexico City broke loose from her moorings at the Deurganck dock in the port of Antwerp on Monday at about 1400 hours. As she had been moored, she was not under direct VTS guidance, but the port VTS service spotted the problem and dispatched help. “We saw the ship make a strange and sudden movement,” said the VTS watch officer on duty. “We did not hesitate and immediately sent tugboats and a pilot boat to the ship.”
According to the agency, multiple tugs responded to the scene and attempted to bring the vessel under control. However, the APL Mexico City struck the outstretched gantry of a crane on the opposite side of the harbor, causing it to collapse.
The incident caused extensive damage on the quay and damaged the APL Mexico City. She has been safely moored again but will require repairs before she can sail.
According to terminal operator DP World, the area in the vicinity of the crane was evacuated and there were no injuries. The company said that operations would resume soon.
The marine weather forecast for Antwerp at the time of the casualty predicted winds of 40 knots with gusts to 45. Given the weather conditions, the port authority temporarily suspended navigation for safety reasons, local media reported.
According to the Flemish Agency for Maritime Services and Coast, the vessel MSC Anchorage also threatened to break away from her moorings. A tug was dispatched to hold her against the pier to ensure that she stayed in place.