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Ever Given 2: Bulker Goes Aground at Both Ends on River Nene

Baltic Arrow (file image courtesy Hafen Hamburg / Dietmar Hasenpusch)
Baltic Arrow (file image courtesy Hafen Hamburg / Dietmar Hasenpusch)

Published Jun 26, 2024 3:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

A cargo ship has gone aground on the River Nene near Cambridge, wedging itself diagonally into both banks and fully blocking the narrow waterway. The grounding has attracted public attention to the UK thanks to its apparent similarity to the Ever Given casualty, which fully blocked off the Suez Canal in 2021 - albeit at a far smaller scale. 

At about 0900 hours on Tuesday morning, the bulker Baltic Arrow went aground at the bow and the stern while inbound for the port of Wisbech, a historic inland port located about 30 miles due north of Cambridge. Drone footage taken Tuesday showed a small tug attempting to refloat the vessel. 

 

The Baltic Arrow grounded at a low tide, and she was refloated at the next high tide on Tuesday evening, according to local media. An extra tug was brought in from nearby Kings Lynn to assist, and AIS data shows that the Arrow departed the scene at about 2040 hours GMT. 

Wisbech is one of the few ports in the world where vessels routinely operate with the expectation that they will go aground at their berth. The river is so shallow that the daily fluctuations in its depth will leave vessels resting on the muddy bottom at low tide - a so-called  "not always afloat but safely aground" (NAABSA) mooring arrangement.

Baltic Arrow is a regular visitor, and it is designed to safely operate in a grounded condition, port officials told the Daily Mail. As dramatic as the grounding on the River Nene may appear, the port expects that the vessel was undamaged by the contact with the "soft and sludgy" riverbed, and will likely return to service without a need for repairs. 

As of Wednesday, Baltic Arrow remained moored alongside at Wisbech. An investigation into the cause of the grounding is under way.