With two attempts to dislodge it, the giant CSCL Indian Ocean is likely to remain stuck on the bed of the river Elbe outside Hamburg until Tuesday next week, much to the frustration of many local politicians.
The 400-m long, 19,000 teu China Shipping suffered a steering malfunction while nearing Hamburg on the night of February 3. Tugs were deployed, but thus far have failed to shift the ship, one of the largest containerships afloat.
The next full moon high tide is not until February 9, when another attempt will be made to free the green-hulled ship.
Yesterday, much of the bunker fuel was syphoned off the three-month-old ship to a barge. Authorities will now mull bringing a floating crane alongside to take off some of the boxes to lighten the load of the 184,320 dwt ship.
Possible dredging along the side of the ship is also under consideration. No leaks have been reported so far.
Local politicians and environmentalists have warned for some time that the Elbe is not ideal navigational territory in the era of the ultra large container vessel.
“Such accidents were feared for some time and are more incidents of this nature in the future cannot be excluded”, the Lower Saxony economics minister Olaf Lies told local media yesterday. “This accident caused considerable economic damage, because it has disturbed operations at the port of Hamburg,” the politician added.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, have urged politicians to force the largest boxships to avoid Hamburg and call at Wilhelmshaven instead.