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ONE Apus Arrives in Japan Showing Extent of Massive Container Collapse

container ship with collapsed cargo arrives in Japan
One APUS on a prior voyage - Port of New York & New Jersey photo

Published Dec 8, 2020 11:34 AM by The Maritime Executive

The Japanese flagged container ship ONE Apus, which suffered a massive container loss at sea, arrived in the Port of Kobe, Japan today, December 8. The ship’s owners, Chidori Ship Holding, and its managers, NYK Shipmanagement, confirmed that the ship is now safely berthed after losing 1,816 containers overboard when it encountered severe weather on Monday, November 30, 2020.

Social media is showing a broad range of images of the ship and the extent of the damage to the load which was not confined to one area of the ship. With a carrying capacity of 14,000 TEUs, it appears that much of the ONE Apus’ load remains in a precarious position.

In their statement, the companies said that local emergency services had been called in to “ensure that there is no threat to people or the environment posed by the dislodged and damaged containers that remain on deck.” The images show numerous containers either hanging near or over the side of the vessel which remain at risk of further collapse. 

It is unclear how many of the containers that are still aboard hold dangerous materials. In its last update, the companies reported that 54 of the containers lost in the accident were carrying fireworks while eight were transporting batteries, and two contain liquid ethanol. 

 

A full safety inspection of the vessel and its remaining cargo will now take place. Once the vessel and cargo are declared safe, surveyors from the various stakeholders will then make their initial assessments of the situation, including a final tally on the number of containers lost overboard or damaged. 

Stowage planners and stevedores are also working on formulating a plan for the removal of the remaining containers.

The vessel, which operates as part of the ONE Express Network, was sailing from Yantian, China to Long Beach, California when it encountered a storm approximately 1,600 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. The companies said the collapse occurred in seas that were running 5 to 6 meters (16 to 19 feet) with winds at Force 4 on the Beaufort scale, which is termed a “moderate breeze” at speeds of 13 to 18 mph. The master diverted the vessel to ensure the safety of the crew and the ship until conditions eased and shortly after that the voyage was aborted and the vessel reversed course sailing to Japan.
 
In its statement to customers, ONE Network said it regrets the inconvenience caused and thanked them for their understanding in this regard.

This loss of containers is one of the worst experienced without the loss of a vessel and far exceeds the average loss of containers as tracked by the shipping associations and insurance companies. 

The owners and managers said they are liaising with the JRCC in Honolulu, who are continuing to broadcast safety messages to marine traffic about the lost containers and sightings.  They also repeated that a full investigation will be conducted into this incident in conjunction with the Flag State and the relevant maritime authorities.