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Durban in South Africa

A 652-foot-long container vessel completed her cargo operations at Beira, Mozambique, port and sailed en route to Durban, South Africa, in laden condition.

Due to very constrain channel to exit the port and lack of visibility influenced by the dense fog, the transit outbound from Beira harbour was postponed several times. As soon as the visibility was improved, Master began the approach from berth toward the exit of Beira port with pilot on board. Close the narrowest area of the channel, at about 9 knots, the visibility dropped again to 200 meters approximately, but this site of the channel could be considered the “no returning point”.

When approaching a significant turn in the channel, where inbound traffic needs to make about a 7-degree turn to port, the Master noted a dredger about half of a mile proceeding very fast in opposite course. The dredger, about 30 meters away from the vessel, altered her course to port but could not avoid the collision. Within seconds, the vessels collided with each other, respectively with bow and with starboard end quarter. Due to the impact, the vessel sustained a breach in forepeak ballast tank with water ingress, but Master trimmed the vessel to stern by de-ballasting and kept the breached area outside the waterline. On the other hand, the dredger, after the collision, disappeared in the fog and run aground, probably voluntarily by her Master in order to avoid the complete sinking. It partly flooded resulting in about 20,000,000 USD of damages.

We followed the court dispute acting on behalf of the container vessel’s H&M U’writers.