Madrid Bridge Arrives at Charleston to Offload Collapsed Containers

Madrid Bridge arrives Charleston to offload damaged containers
Madrid Bridge begins offloading its damaged containers in Charleston (SPCA file photo)

Published Jan 25, 2022 5:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

One Network Express’s (ONE) containership Madrid Bridge arrived at the terminal in Charleston, South Carolina this morning, January 25, to begin the delicate process of recovering from the container collapse the vessel experienced earlier this month. The vessel skipped its planned calls at the Port of New York, Norfolk, and Savannah proceeding directly to Charleston where it was still forced to wait several days for terminal space.

The 146,778 dwt Madrid Bridge was slow steaming or possibly stopped in the Atlantic at the beginning of January slowing its voyage due to congestion at the Port of New York and New Jersey when the vessel encountered heavy weather mid-Atlantic. The ship, which has a capacity of 13,900 TEU, reported that approximately 60 boxes were lost overboard while 80 or more were also damaged but remained on board. The vessel steamed south towards the Caribbean before heading to Charleston as its port of refuge to recover from the collapse.

The Madrid Bridge reached the Charleston anchorage on January 20 but due to congestion was forced to anchor out awaiting terminal space. The vessel briefly headed south, possibly to avoid a forecasted winter storm at the beginning of the weekend, before returning to the Charleston anchorage. It proceeded to Charleston’s Hugh K. Leatherman terminal early today.

Representatives of the stevedoring company told Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper that it will be a difficult multi-day operation to offload the damaged containers along with a cargo of approximately 900 containers scheduled to be offloaded in Charleston. They said it would alternate between the containers and damaged boxes, with a special rigging company brought in to assist in stabilizing the damaged boxes before they can be offloaded. Once on the dock, the damaged boxes will need to be inspected and cargo bound for other east coast ports will need to be reloaded onto the Madrid Bridge. Dan Hall, president of Charleston Stevedoring, told the newspaper he expects it will take two to three days with as much as 50 percent extra staffing to complete the process.

ONE has not yet updated customers but Charleston officials believe the vessel will head to Norfolk and then New York to complete its current voyage before returning to the Far East. The vessel, however, will also need to be inspected to see if it suffered any damage during the collapse.