Safmarine Meru Recovery Plans Under Way
In an update Tuesday, Maersk Line said that the damaged container vessel Safmarine Meru remains stable, and that a fire aboard is now under control. Plans are under way to take her in tow and bring her into port.
The Meru suffered damage in a collision May 7 with the container ship Northern Jasper, off Ningbo, China. A fire broke out on the Meru following the incident; Maersk says that external firefighting operations have successfully concluded, and that tugs remain standing by to monitor the situation.
Chinese authorities and Maersk representatives have boarded her to perform a damage survey. The Meru is without power and took on an unspecified volume of water following the collision, but the company said that she is stable and in suitable condition for towing.
The 4,500 TEU Meru was lightly loaded at the time of the incident, with only 400 boxes on board.
Palle Laursen, Maersk Line's head of ship management, said that the line is working with Chinese authorities to arrange for the Meru's recovery, and will bring her into the Port of Ningbo. However, Maersk "will not speculate or comment on the circumstances leading to the incident while the investigations are ongoing," Laursen said.
The Meru's 22 crew are safe and unharmed, and counselors have been made available if needed. Maersk said that it is making arrangements to release the crew for shore leave.
In an unrelated development, Maersk has announced that Safmarine will relocate its head office to Cape Town, South Africa, in order to better serve its core Africa-Asia trade routes. The line was founded in 1946 and acquired by Maersk in 1999; it has been headquartered in Copenhagen since 2012. Its recently appointed CEO, David Williams, is a South African national and will relocate with the firm. He will also assume the post of Regional Manager for Africa for Maersk Line.