Crew Praised for Action in Emma Maersk Flooding
The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board has released its investigation into the flooding of Emma Maersk in February 2013. On the evening of 1 February 2013, a severe leakage occurred in the container ship Emma Maersk while the ship, loaded with general cargo in about 14,000 containers, was about to pass southbound through the Suez Canal.
The leakage was caused by a mechanical breakdown of a stern thruster situated at the aft part of the ship’s shaft tunnel whereby the shaft tunnel was flooded. The bulkhead between the shaft tunnel and the main engine room could not withstand the hydrostatic water pressure and eventually the main engine room was also flooded.
The situation became complicated because the ship had just initiated a passage in a convoy through the Suez Canal. Loss of the ship’s own propulsion, electric power, steerage and maneuverability could be foreseen and eventually occurred.
Despite a series of technical breakdowns and system weaknesses, the shipboard organization remained resilient, and despite the breakdown of the structural barriers, the ship’s officers and crew managed to contain the emergency situation and bring the ship alongside at the Suez Canal Container Terminal without any personal injury or pollution to the environment.