Zim Kingston Proceeds to Terminal to Begin Salvage Operation

damaged containership Zim Kingston proceeding to terminal
Zim Kingston was given permission to leave the anchorage on December 3 (Transport Canada)

Published Dec 3, 2021 6:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

More than a month after the incident in which the containership Zim Kingston lost 109 containers overboard and suffered a container fire, the vessel has finally been cleared to proceed to port. Early this morning the vessel began moving from the anchorage off Victoria, Canada toward DP World’s Duke Point terminal, located on the east coast of Vancouver Island at Nanaimo, B.C.

Transport Canada issued a statement early on December 3 confirming that the Zim Kingston had satisfied all Transport Canada’s safety-related conditions and that the vessel was cleared to proceed to the terminal. The 85 nautical mile journey was expected to take up to 11 hours with the boxship being escorted by two tugboats. In addition, U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard vessels were monitoring the ship’s movement in their respective waters and a marine mammal watch vessel and environmental monitoring were also expected.

The movement to the terminal is the first step in a multi-stage recovery plan for the vessel. The damage plan calls for the 4,253 TEU containership to anchor at the port and then proceed to the dock where the first phase of the salvage operation will begin. Officials explained that the decision was made to take the ship to the more remote port due to the congestion in Vancouver and the complexity of the operation. They explained that Nanaimo was large enough to handle the vessel but receives less traffic and was not suffering from the same congestion as Vancouver.

While at the terminal the plan is to remove containers directly affected by the fire or that became unstable or lose. They estimated that approximately 60 containers will be offloaded and that it could require up to 10 days to complete this phase of the recovery. 

Once all the damaged and lose containers have been handled, the plan is for the Zim Kingston to complete its original voyage and proceed to the terminal in Vancouver. Norman cargo handling is expected in Vancouver offloading the boxes as originally planned. Zim, so far, has not made a statement about plans for the vessel after that point.

Cleanup efforts are still ongoing monitoring for any possible debris from the containers. The majority of the containers were believed to have sunk, although a few were seen in the water and washed up on the shore in the days after the accident.