Container Ship Punches Through Lock Gate
On Monday night, the 1,000 TEU container feeder Akacia struck a lock at the Baltic Sea entrance to the Kiel Canal, rupturing the gate with her bulbous bow. The repair costs are likely in the millions, and traffic is restricted to one lock at Kiel-Holtenau until repairs are completed.
Eyewitness reports indicated that the Akacia accelerated as she approached the lock, reaching a speed in excess of 10 knots. The master dropped both anchors in an attempt to slow her, but she could not be stopped before striking the gate. An initial investigation suggests that she may have experienced problems with her controllable-pitch propeller system.
The Akacia suffered minor water ingress from the collision damage but is not in danger of serious flooding. No pollution or injuries were reported.
The tug Wolf pulled the Akacia away from the gate at 1530 hours the next day, and as of Tuesday evening, both vessels remained in the south lock chamber at Keil-Holtenau. Traffic on the canal is presently restricted to the north chamber, but not for long: repairs to the gate could start as soon as Wednesday, and canal administrator Matthias Visser told NDR that the authority will work to return it to service as quickly as possible.