Two Boxships Break Away From Their Moorings in Five Days at Brisbane

Port of Brisbane
Port of Brisbane, Australia, 2015 (Nick-D / CC BY SA 4.0)

Published Jun 3, 2022 8:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Australian authorities are investigating two breakaway incidents involving containerships in the span of five days at the port of Brisbane.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said it is investigating the breakaway of container ship OOCL Brisbane and near-breakaway of boxship CMA CGM Bellini, which occurred on May 16 and May 20 respectively. Both incidents occurred at the Fisherman Island container terminals in the port of Brisbane. 

In the first incident, the Panamax containership OOCL Brisbane broke away from her berth at the terminal. Her mooring lines parted shortly after another ship, the Delos Wave, passed by in the adjacent channel.

The ship’s crew used the engine and bow thruster to maintain control and temporarily dropped anchor until harbor tugs arrived. A harbor pilot boarded the ship and, with more tugs assisting, brought it to a nearby anchorage.

In the second incident, the 5,800 TEU CMA CGM Bellini was working cargo alongside a berth when two of its forward mooring lines parted and the ship’s bow drifted off the berth. As in the previous incident, the lines parted when another ship, the APL Scotland, passed the berthed ship in the adjacent channel.

With the assistance of a harbor tug, the ship was secured safely back alongside the berth. Cargo operations resumed shortly after.

The ATSB anticipates to finish its investigation into the two breakaway incidents in the fourth quarter of the year, though it may issue a safety bulletin earlier if the need arises.

Over 2,300 vessels call at Brisbane annually, and its container terminals handle 1.5 million TEU per year. The port is currently undergoing a five-year, $330 million expansion program involving the development of wharf infrastructure to accommodate larger vessels.

Top image: Port of Brisbane, Australia, 2015 (Nick-D / CC BY SA 4.0)