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OOCL's two-month old mega-boxship runs aground in Suez Canal

HONG Kong's Orient Overseas Container Lines's (OOCL's) almost brand new mega-boxships, the OOCL Japan, which was christened on September 1, ran aground in the busy Suez Canal last week, and tugs have to be deployed to remove the blockage.

Mechanical problems were to blame for the 21,413 TEU vessel to be grounded on sand in one of the world's busiest seaways, the London's Tug Techology & Business reported.

A spokesman for the owner told Riviera Maritime Media that the vessel, "experienced mechanical problems and because of that, the ship went off course and was grounded".

Local reports indicated that the ship was turned by the grounding to become perpendicular to the shipping fairway. The reports said another ship, Maresk Kimi, which was following was able to stop in time.

The incident occurred around noon on October 18 as the boxship was on route from Singapore to Felixstowe, UK. A fleet of tugs were deployed by Egyptian authorities and were able to refloat the ship from the sandy embankment within hours of the grounding.

OOCL confirmed that OOCL Japan was able to continue on its transit. "We are investigating on the actual cause," said the spokesman.

OOCL Japan was built by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea and is the third in a line of six 21,000 TEU class containerships.
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