Slow Progress in Cleaning Up Containers Aboard ONE Apus

Published Jan 5, 2021 4:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

The process of removing collapsed container stacks from the boxship ONE Apus is under way at the port of Kobe, Japan, but the work is moving slowly, according to Japanese operator Ocean Network Express (ONE). 

In late November, the ONE Apus was under way from Yantian, China to Long Beach, California when it encountered a storm about 1,600 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. In seas averaging about 16-19 feet and wind speeds of 13-18 mph, the vessel sustained a massive container stack collapse, losing more than 1,800 boxes over the side. The master diverted the vessel, then aborted the voyage and headed for a port of refuge in Japan, arriving in Kobe on December 8.

ONE reports that salvors discharged a total of 50 boxes between December 8 and December 22, and another 76 boxes were removed by December 31 - an average rate of fewer than ten containers per day. Thousands of containers remain on deck, and cargo claims consultancy WK Webster estimates that the total damage could top $200 million. 

Discharging operations and inspections were suspended during the Japan New Year holiday, which runs from December 30 through January 4. The operation was scheduled to resume on January 5, but ONE cautioned cargo interests that it would proceed with a "slower speed and special safety case as the vessel on-deck [sic] to be repaired simultaneously."

Cargo owners will be contacted for arrangements if necessary once more information is available, the line said. As of January 5, general average has not yet been declared, though it is understood that a GA surveyor has attended the vessel.