Shanghai Court Seizes Boxship over Hit-and-Run Sinking

The search for the crew of the Zhou (Chinese state media)

By The Maritime Executive 2017-05-05 21:12:23

On Friday, a court in Shanghai seized the container feeder Van Manila on suspicion of involvement in a disastrous hit-and-run collision.

Chinese maritime authorities believe that the 1,700 TEU Van Manila collided with the cargo vessel Xiang Zhou near the mouth of the Yellow River on April 5. The Xiang Zhou quickly sank, and responders – including ten commercial vessels and five patrol boats – were only able to rescue two crewmembers out of a complement of 14. The investigators assert that the Manila did not stay for the search effort: after the collision, her bridge team allegedly turned off their AIS transponder and fled the scene. Shanghai Daily reports that the Manila's master and crew have agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Surviving crewmembers of the Zhou confirmed that the Van Manila was the second vessel involved in the collision. The families of the missing petitioned the court to detain the Manila to preserve its value for any potential damage claims, and the court seized the boxship when she arrived at Wudong Port in Shanghai. 

The Van Manila was the Hanjin Manila until 2015, when her operations were taken over by a firm based in Hong Kong. Her port state control record shows no significant inspection deficiencies. As of Friday, her AIS signal showed her anchored in the Yangtze River just north of Shanghai.