Grounding crises at Gioia Tauro and Suez Canal are short-lived

Two groundings at potential chokepoints for container ship logistics at the beginning of the week were both cleared within 48 hours.

Operations resumed at Italy’s largest container port, Gioia Tauro, 24 hours after container ship MSC Elaine (IMO 9393321) took too wide a course on January 9th while manoeuvring to exit the port and grounded on the southern breakwater at the port’s entrance.

The container ship was departing Gioia Tauro on Monday bound for Malta, with the assistance of two port tugs when it struck the breakwater in reasonable weather and became stuck, blocking the entrance to the port. The 8,500 teu ship’s grounding meant that eight other vessels were unable to leave port.

Italian authorities said that winds were between 6 and 9 knots and they did not believe the wind and sea conditions contributed to the grounding. However, stronger winds, gusting up to 25 knots from the northeast, helped in the operation to free the vessel.

A patrol boat sent immediately to the scene by the port authority reported that there were no signs of leaks from the vessel; nor was there any visible damage. Five local tugs were dispatched to participate in the efforts to free the containership. Efforts continued overnight and into the morning on January 10th. Later the same day the vessel was freed.

The MSC Elaine was moved to the anchorage outside the port where local divers inspected the hull. The Coast Guard is also undertaking an investigation into the circumstances of the grounding.

Meanwhile theBulk carrier Glory (IMO 9288473), which ran aground in the Suez Canal late on January 8th was also freed by tugs within 24 hours, causing minimal delays to shipping. It continued its southbound journey, next destination Singapore and ultimate destination China, without problems.

2009-built, Panama-flagged, 95,681 gt MSC Elaine is owned by Estil Shipping Inc-BVI care of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co of Geneva, Switzerland. ISM manager is MSC Shipmanagement Ltd of Limassol, Cyprus. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (European syndicate) on behalf of Estil Shipping Inc.

2005-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 39,964 gt Glory is owned by Primera Shipping Inc care of manager Target Marine SA of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Primera Shipping Inc.