Marine accident round-up : 20th March 2019

Towboat Michelle Ann sank last Thursday March 14th at the general anchorage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana after striking the anchor chain of bulk carrier Iolcos Unity (IMO 9313058). The US Coast Guard  closed the Mississippi to traffic from mile marker 224.5 to 226. The Ann’s four crewmembers were safely evacuated onto the barge and were rescued by a nearby good samaritan vessel. The Army Corps of Engineers is searching for the Ann’s exact position on the river bottom, and the anchorage area remained closed. The USCG reopened the main channel to traffic. A Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge incident management team confirmed that there was an oil sheen on the water. The Michelle Ann was pushing one single dry bulk barge ahead at the time of the casualty, and the barge was safely recovered. The cause of the incident is under investigation. The Mississippi at mile 226 is well above flood stage, and as of Friday was just four feet below the Baton Rouge gauge all-time record of 47ft. 2006-built, Malta-flagged, 40,485 gt Iolcos Unity is owned by Hudson Anthem Shipping Co Ltd care of manager Iolcos Hellenic Maritime Enterprises Co Ltd of Athens, Greece.

Offshore support vessel E. Francis (IMO 7008897) was approached by pirates before noon on March 9th in the Gulf of Guinea, 32 miles from Brass. The pirates were armed with machine guns in two speed boats. The captain notified the naval escort security vessel which manoeuvred to engage the pirates. One speed boat closed in from the port side of the vessel and crossed the bow, while the other speed boat exchanged fire with the security vessel. The alarm was raised, the crew proceeded to the engine room and all power was shut down. The pirates boarded the vessel with the aid of an elongated ladder. They broke into the accommodation, vandalized the cabins and took crew belongings and vessel properties. The pirates then proceeded to the engine room, kidnapped five men and escaped. The remaining crew members sailed the E. Francis under escort to a safe Nigerian anchorage. One Nigerian Navy armed guard was reported killed in the exchange of fire between the naval security vessel and the pirates. 1975-built, Nigeria-flagged, 2,645 gt E. Francis is owned by EYO/Ugwoke care of manager Maxsun Marine Service of Sharjah, UAE.

Vehicle carrier Grande Roma (IMO 9247936) got into difficulties in the English Channel early on March 17th, 2019, east of the of Isle of Wight, while en route from Antwerp to Southampton. The ship started to drift before it was anchored at 11:00. Tug Multratug 17 approached the ship on March 18th. 2003-built, Italy-flagged, 44,408 gt Grande Roma is owned and managed by Grimaldi of Naples, Italy. It is entered with Standard Club (European Syndicate) on behalf of Grimaldi.

Aggregates carrier Tornes (IMO 7002318) allided with a quay upon entering the port of Rørvik early on March 17th. No one was injured in the incident. The ship, which was carrying sea salt, suffered severe bow damage above the waterline. Investigations have been launched and a police patrol was on board. The Norwegian Maritime Directorate was also notified and carried out further investigations.  1969-built, Norway-flagged, 839 gt Tornes is owned by Molde Sjotransport AS and managed by Torhus Shipping AS, both of Molde, Norway. It is entered with Hydor AS.

Passenger/cargo RoRo Apollo (IMO 7006314) allided with the dock in Matane, Quebec, during docking manoeuvres on March 16th. The ship suffered damage to her stern ramp and the hull, subsequently developing a starboard side list. The 66 passengers aboard were all evacuated safely. The vessel had only resumed its service on March 7th after an allision with the Godbout wharf on February 25th. Strong winds could have contributed to the accident.

Canada-flagged, 6,609 gt Apollo is owned and managed by Labrador Marine of Lewisporte, Newfoundland, Canada. It is entered with Shipowners’ Club on behalf of Société Des Traversiers Du Quebec

Cargo ship Impala (IMO 9370111) started listing in position on March 16th The vessel intended to move closer to France to find shelter and dock with assistance from the shipping company. The vessel had experienced issues with her boiler, which was fixed by the crew. The ship reached Cherbourg that evening. 2008-built, Antigua & Barbuda-flagged, 9,556 gt Impala is owned by Myrrho care of manager Peter Döhle Schiffahrts-KG of Hamburg, Germany. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Hamburg unit) on behalf of anager Peter Döhle Schiffahrts-KG.