ONE Containership Remains Anchored off Egypt Awaiting Inspection
ONE Orpheus the container vessel that disrupted northbound traffic in the Suez Canal on December 6 remains at anchor off Port Said, Egypt. Ocean Network Express (ONE) wrote to customers that it will be advising them of the vessel’s schedule once more information is available.
The vessel was set to have an underwater inspection today to assess its conditions after it was freed on Wednesday night and moved to the anchorage north of the Suez Canal. ONE reports that the vessel ran aground at approximately 1030 local time on Wednesday. The Suez Canal Authority used four tugs to help free the vessel which ONE reports was refloated after about seven hours.
The Suez Canal Authority reported that at least six vessels in the northbound convoy behind the ONE Orpheus were also ordered to drop anchor during the incident. Included was an MSC containership as well as tankers and LPG carriers. The Authority had planned to divert the northbound traffic into the western channel after the southbound convoy had cleared the area.
The ONE Orpheus struck a floating bridge but it is unclear if the vessel suffered any significant damage. Claims consultants WK Webster in its casualty report says, “Reports indicate that the vessel sustained a significant breach to the starboard hull above the waterline as a result of the collision, but there are currently no reports of any damage to cargo stowed on board the vessel.”
After being refloated at approximately 1930 local time, the containership was escorted north to exit the Suez Canal. By 0200 on December 7 local time, it was in the anchorage.
At 104,525 dwt, the ONE Orpheus, built in 2008, is far from the largest container vessel to transit the Suez Canal. The vessel is 1,102 feet (336 meters) in length with a nominal capacity of 9,040 TEU. Reports indicate it is traveling with a draft of approximately 43 feet. By comparison, the newest classes of ULCVs transit the Suez Canal laden on their northbound voyages with a draft of approximately 52 to 53 feet.
The Suez Canal Authority is reporting that the vessel suffered a malfunction with its steering and its rudder causing it to hit the bridge. There has been no mention of winds on Wednesday, but questions have been raised if the vessel might have encountered a current.
Navigational issues and the management of vessels was of course a key issue that emerged during the investigations into the 2021 grounding of the Ever Given. The Panama Maritime Authority’s Marine Safety Investigation Report was critical of the Suez Canal pilots and their performance during the Ever Given’s transit and their actions leading up to the grounding.
ONE is telling customers that it regrets the inconvenience caused by the incident and will keep them apprised of future developments. The ONE Orpheus had been due to reach Rotterdam on December 15.