NORTHERN JASPER vs. SAFMARINE MERU: UPDATE May 13
May 13: SAFMARINE MERU was towed to Ningbo from anchorage on May 13, after firefighters made sure there weren’t any smouldering debris left. No news yet (if it will be revealed at all) how many containers were destroyed and damaged, and how many of them were loaded with dangerous materials.
May 11: According to available information from different sources, including Maersk and Chinese authorities, SAFMARINE MERU fire, as of morning May 11, seems to be if not extinguished, at least under control, with some 40 containers either destroyed, or damaged. Information is inconclusive and evasive, which is the case in nearly all fire accidents on board of big container ships. Information on 11 containers with dangerous materials is contradictory – some say, containers in question were in or near fire, some say it’s a number of all potentially hazardous containers, which are stored on board of SAFMARINE MERU. Vessel doesn’t have power, there was small leak, most probably in engine room area and probably, in a stern hold next to superstructure. Maersk said, that the vessel is seaworthy enough for a towage. There’s still no AIS, intentional or due to damages.
Most probably, authorities want to be sure the fire is totally out and there’s no danger of rekindling, or leak of dangerous materials, or explosion. Maersk on the other hand, wants to gain more time for cargo damage assessment, i.e. both involved parties need time and avoid revealing all the information.
There was some misunderstanding with regards to bow damages suffered by SAFMARINE MERU, logical assumption is, that bow damages were suffered by NORTHERN JASPER. How serious are the damages of NORTHERN JASPER, is unknown. Vessel, according to AIS, after being anchored for some time off Zhoushan, on May 11 resumed her sailing to initial port of destination, Yangshan, so hopefully, damages aren’t serious.
Foto found in web showing NORTHERN JASPER bow after collision, loaded with “extra” containers, “loaded” from SAFMARINE MERU. Obviously, NORTHERN JASPER spent some time on anchorage off Zhoushan to clear the mess. One more proof of general trait of such accidents – unwillingness of involved parties to reveal all information.
According to latest available information, SAFMARINE MERU suffered breach portside, and fire in containers in fore section. 11 containers on fire, or near fire, contain chemicals and other hazardous materials. As of 1900 Beijing time May 8, firefighting, which started at around 1130, was still on. No flames were visible, but fire was still on. Both vessels are anchored somewhere off Zhoushan, both AIS seemingly off. NORTHERN JASPER assumedly suffered serious damages, too, because her crew was to be evacuated, or has been already evacuated. A full-scale salvage operation under way, deploying a number of CG rescue ships, tugs and firefighting and salvage teams. Official statements didn’t reveal much, which is indicator of the seriousness of the situation.
Boxships NORTHERN JASPER vs. SAFMARINE MERU, 22 crew evacuated, fire on board
Container ships NORTHERN JASPER and SAFMARINE MERU collided at around noon Beijing Time May 8 in Yellow sea some 15 nm off Shandong province coast. Reportedly fire started on board of SAFMARINE MERU, 22 crew evacuated. Chinese salvage teams and ships are fighting fire. No information yet on NORTHERN JASPER damages, understood to be slight. NORTHERN JASPER was en route from Zhoushan to Yangshan, SAFMARINE MERU was en route from Qingdao to Ningbo.