Ship grounds in Durban port entrance

Apr 22, 2003
Author: P&S

It was a close shave for the port of Durban last night (Monday 21 April 2003), when the Mitsui Osk Line (MOL) container ship MOL Sassandra ran aground in the port entrance at Durban.

The container ship was under pilotage atthe time and entering port in windy conditions - an estimated 35 knot wind was blowing and there was also a strong current reported.

On approach into the narrow channel (122 metres wide) the ship drifted towards the southern breakwater. According to onlookers the vessel corrected course but then veered rapidly towards the northern breakwater, coming aground on the sandy shore in front of the rocks making up the breakwater.

Five tugs were despatched by port control to assist with towing the vessel clear, whcih was accomplished after about one hour. Scores of people eating at nearby restaurants flocked to the breakwater to watch proceedings.

Divers inspected the hull and found no damage, allowing the ship to proceed to the container termianl to begin discharging of her cargo.

After inspection MOL Sassandra was able to sail from Durban later on Tuesday afternoon.

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