Maersk Containership Quickly Freed After Grounding Near Savannah

Maersk containership aground near Savannah
Maersk Surabaya became stuck a few miles downriver from the terminal in Savannah (USCG photo)

Published Jun 15, 2022 1:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Quick action by the U.S. Coast Guard and local teams averted a potentially serious problem at the busy Port of Savannah on Tuesday evening, June 14. Teams responded and were quickly able to free an inbound Maersk containership that had run aground potentially disrupting traffic on the Savannah River.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that its command center was notified by the ship’s agent just after 6:00 p.m. last evening that the 108,350 dwt Maersk Surabaya had grounded and required assistance. The 1,091-foot boxship was arriving from Charleston and navigating near a bend in the river when its stern veered toward the riverbank.

The 16-year-old vessel which has a carrying capacity of 8,400 TEU was apparently heavily loaded and became stuck on a soft bottom. Indications were that she had a draft of approximately 40 feet at the time of the grounding. She was reported to be a few miles downstream from the port terminal near Fort Jackson. The 32-mile shipping channel was recently deepend to a depth of 47 feet or a maximum of 54 feet at high tide. The tide was reportedly coming in at the time and ultimately helped to refloat the boxship.



(Click the Tweet to see video of the vessel being repositioned)


The Coast Guard created a safety zone around the vessel in cooperation with the port pilots which temporarily closed a portion of the waterway. However, they reported that it did not impact commercial traffic.

Seven tugboats were dispatched and in a coordinated effort were able to reposition the vessel back into the channel. The Maersk Surabaya was refloated approximately two hours after the reports of the grounding. Two tugs kept lines on the vessel and escorted her to the terminal where she remains.

The Coast Guard reports that there were no injuries or indications of pollution or damage from the grounding. The Marine Safety Unit based in Savannah is investing the cause of the incident.