Video: Barge Loses Containers on Route to Singapore
An Indonesia tugboat pulling a container barge encountered unexpectedly heavy seas in the early morning hours of May 26 causing it to till and lose a portion of its cargo into the ocean. The Indonesian Navy and other government agencies responded ensuring the safety of the 10 crewmembers manning the tow, but they reported that some containers were swept away with others remaining in danger of being washed off the barge.
The tugboat Mega Daya 43 departed from Perawang Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP) Port in Riau, east of Singapore bound for Singapore towing the Marcopolo 188 barge. According to the reports from the SAR agency, the vessel began to experience bad weather, strong winds, and strong waves. The captain while the vessel was approximately 10 miles away from Nipah, Indonesia ordered the crew to shorten the towline around midnight. However, within 45 minutes the barge was seen to be rocking and rolling to a list of as much as 30 degrees. The captain ordered the crew to again lengthen the towline.
As they continued to lose control of the barge, the captain radioed for permission to attempt to ground the barge to prevent its loss. He attempted to turn around to reach a more secure location but by 1:45 a.m. he reported that the barge was approaching a 60-degree list when he ordered the crew to release the tow line entirely. The tug remained at the scene awaiting assistance from the Navy and SAR agency.
The barge was loaded with 108 20-foot containers and an additional 87 40-foot containers. They are currently estimating as many as 18 of the containers were washed overboard and seen floating.