26th Mar 2018
On Saturday morning, at the port of Callau, Peru, the 4,500 TEU container ship Laura Maersk made contact with the moored boxship MSC Shuba B. The vessels suffered minor damage, and as of Monday, both of them were under way towards their next ports of call.
The Laura Maersk also made headlines last July when she lost power off Akutan, Alaska and began to drift towards shore. She came to within less than ten nm of the coast, and according to Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation she was in danger of going aground. Three tugs were dispatched, and they took the container ship in tow and brought her to Dutch Harbor. “The thing that made this one very high profile, high risk was how close it was to land,” on-scene DEC coordinator Geoff Merrell told local NBC affiliate KTUU.
The Laura Maersk was also in the news in 2016, when authorities in Manzanillo, Mexico found 228 kilos of cocaine hidden in her cargo.
Fourth Maersk boxship casualty this month
The incident involving the Laura Maersk was the fourth in a string of unrelated casualties involving Maersk boxships this month.
On March 4, the container ship Maersk Shanghai informed the U.S. Coast Guard that she lost about 70 containers in a storm about 17 miles off Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. Maersk later confirmed the total number of containers lost overboard was 76.
On March 6, a fire broke out in a cargo hold forward of the accommodations block on the container vessel Maersk Honam. Five crewmembers died as a result of the blaze, and an unknown amount of cargo was destroyed. Insurers expect damages to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. As of Monday, the Honam’s escorts – the Amazon Chieftain Z, Posh Perseverance, Maersk Involver and Zwerver 2 – were under way 200 nm off Oman, heading towards Jebel Ali.
On March 15, the U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Kensington reported a container on fire in a cargo hold while en route from Oman to Suez. Maersk said that the crew reacted swiftly by releasing CO2 into the hold and the fire was quickly contained. Maersk said that an initial investigation indicates there is no link between the cargo in the cargo hold where the fire began on the Maersk Kensington and the cargo in the cargo hold that caught fire on the Maersk Honam.