18,000 TEU Container Ship Grounds Briefly in UK
The 18,000 TEU box ship CMA CGM Vasco de Gama ran aground briefly on the approach to the Port of Southampton late Monday night. She was quickly refloated, and as of Tuesday afternoon she was under way off Cowes, bound for Dunkirk.
The Vasco de Gama is among the largest container vessels to go aground. The 19,000 TEU CSCL Indian Ocean grounded on the approach to Hamburg in February; the 14,000 TEU APL Vanda made an intentional controlled grounding on her approach to Southampton the same month; the 12,500 TEU MSC Fabiola went aground in the Suez Canal in April; and the 10,000 TEU Maersk Shams went aground in the Suez Canal in July.
Insurers Allianz say that ultra large container vessels raise new questions for loss prevention due to the outsize value of each loaded ship's cargo, hull and machinery. "If we are going to go bigger than 22,000 TEU then risk management needs to go back to the drawing board," said Captain Rahul Khanna, Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting, AGCS. In the wake of the $400 million in claims from the sinking of the 8,000 TEU vessel MOL Comfort, Allianz believes that the potential exists for a ULCV casualty exceeding $1 billion.
Vasco de Gama was built by China State Shipbuilding Corporation last year and is the largest container ship built by a Chinese yard. She is highly fuel efficient, compliant with EEDI 2025 requirements, and CMA CGM says that she is among the world's greenest cargo vessels. She is a sister ship to the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, the largest container vessel ever to call at an American port.