US Coast Guard Responds to Two Groundings and a Leaky Containership

grounded bulk carrier container ship leak US Coast Guard
Genco Auvergne aground in the Columbia River - photo by USCG Petty Officer 3rd Class Trevor Lilburn

Published Oct 2, 2020 8:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

The US Coast Guard had a busy week responding to the grounding of a bulker in Virginia, a bulker in Oregon that lost power, and managing the containment and clean up of oil leaking from a containership with a small crack in its hull in New Jersey. 

The first grounding call came from the Panamanian-flagged Hong Dai, which reported grounding near Norfolk, Virginia on the evening of September 30. The 738-foot bulk carrier with a crew of 22 and a cargo of coal ran aground on a soft sandy bottom approximately a quarter of a mile northwest of Sewell’s Point in Norfolk. The Virginia Coast Guard responded and assisted with an assessment and reviewing the salvage plan.

This morning, October 2, seven tugs were instrumental in refloating the Hong Dai. The vessel was moved to anchorage where an underwater survey can be completed. Pending the outcome of the survey, a marine inspections officer will certify the ship safe to sail. The Coast Guard also highlighted that the vessel had 188,000 gallons on low sulfur fuel as well as diesel and lube oil aboard and that there was no spill.

Hong Dai aground near Norfolk, Virginia, October 1, 2020 - U.S. Coast Guard District 5 photo

While the Virginia station was managing that grounding, the US Coast Guard station for the Columbia River in Oregon received a report at 12:50 a.m. on October 1 that the Marshall Island-flagged bulk carrier Genco Auvergne lost power while navigating on the Columbia River. The 608-foot vessel also had a soft grounding south of the Skamokawa Vista Park. At the time of the grounding the ship was carrying a cargo grain and loaded with over 600,000 gallons of fuel.

The Coast Guard responded with a marine inspector and a Columbia River Bar pilot was aboard to assist in managing traffic in the area. Three tug boats also responded to the grounding. On the high tide that afternoon they were successful in refloating the vessel and it was able to continue to its destination in Longview, Washington.

At the Global Container Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey, the US Coast Guard also responded on September 29 to a report of an oil sheen near the docked 6572 TEU containership YM Mandate. A joint response effort initially oversaw the deployment of oil containment boom and absorbent pads while skimming vessels were deployed. 

The following day a barge was brought alongside the YM Mandate and pumped aboard the fuel from the ship’s leaking tank. The US Coast Guard confirmed the fuel leak was coming from a small crack in the vessel’s hull. Pumping the tank stopped the leak while the owners of the vessel arranged for repairs to the hull.

The busy week came to a successful conclusion with no major incidents.