MSC Boxship Loses Power in North Pacific Due to "Bad Fuel"

msc ariane
MSC Ariane at the port of Singapore, 2018 (File image courtesy PSA Singapore)

Published Apr 6, 2021 9:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The 13,000 TEU container ship MSC Ariane temporarily lost power in the North Pacific due to a fuel quality issue, operator Mediterranean Shipping Company advised clients on Tuesday.

"The container ship MSC Ariane, deployed on our Pearl service, had to stop at sea due to an engine issue due to bad quality of fuel on 2 April," MSC advised. 

AIS data provided by Pole Star shows that the boxship was roughly 130 nm south of Nagoya, Japan at the time of the casualty. She  diverted to the nearby port of Wakayama for repairs. As of Tuesday evening, she was headed slowly away from Wakayama, making three knots and broadcasting an AIS status of "not under command."

According to MSC, the Ariane was expected to berth in Los Angeles on April 24. Due to the ongoing port congestion in the LA / Long Beach area, MSC said, the carrier is expecting a schedule adjustment to the berthing plan. 

The incident is the second breakdown affecting a large boxship in the North Pacific in less than a month. On March 12, the crew of the 13,000 TEU Maersk Eureka had to stop her main engine to replace a damaged fuel pump. She was able to resume her voyage the following day, Maersk said, but the main engine had to be stopped again on March 14 for further work, leaving her adrift about 250 nm south of Dutch Harbor. No containers were lost, and all reefer boxes stayed on-power. 

An engine service team was dispatched to meet the Maersk Eureka, departing Dutch Harbor aboard the Resolve Marine-operated salvage tug Resolve Pioneer on March 25. The rendezvous was successful, repairs were completed on March 31 and Maersk Eureka arrived safely in Los Angeles on April 6.