Friday, March 18, 2011

Major Carriers Suffer Vessel Losses In Tsunami

In addition to hundreds of smaller vessels, more than 10 large commercial vessels were damaged along the Japanese coast by a massive tsunami that followed the 9.0 earthquake which hit the northern region of the island nation on March 11, including vessels connected to major ocean carriers "K" Line, NYK Line, Mitsui O.S.K. and Hyundai.

At the time the tsunami hit, Lloyd's of London reports that up to 3,300 vessels were located along the eastern coast of Japan. As of Thursday, these are the major commercial vessels in Japan that have been reported damaged due to the tsunami.

The 175,775-dwt bulker China Steel Integrity, which was anchored off of the Port of Kashima and working under a "K" Line charter carrying iron ore when the earthquake hit, was driven aground near the port. All 25 of the mixed Taiwanese/Chinese crew were able to get off the vessel without injury. The vessel sustained some damage to the hull and mechanical systems, but no oil leaked from the vessel.

The 91,439-dwt Japanese-flagged cargo vessel Shiramizu was preparing to unload 70,000 tons of coal at Sinchi when the tsunami struck, slamming the vessel into the pier. All of the crew were reported safe, however, fuel and ballast tanks on the Shirmizu were holed and oil was reportedly leaking from the vessel. Hachiuma Steamship Co., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based ocean carrier NYK Line, operates the vessel.

The 77,739-dwt Panama-flagged bulker Shirouma, also working for NYK Line, was hit by the tsunami shortly after unloading a cargo of coal at the Port of Haramachi. The vessel was torn from its moorings and washed ashore near the port. All crewmembers were reported unharmed.

Berthed at the Port of Onahama when the tsunami hit, the 75,200-dwt Panama-flagged bulker Coral Ring carrying 60,000 tons of coal was driven against the dock, destroying the pier and suffering hull damage. Though the ship was immobilized due to damage, operator NYK Line said all crewmembers are reported safe and there were no reports of oil leaks from the vessel.

The 51,419-dwt Bahamas-flagged freighter M/V Emu Arrow, was caught by the tsunami waves while unloading cargo at the Port of Kashima. The ship collided with other vessels but remained afloat and damage assessments are underway. None of the 26 crewmembers were injured.

The tsunami tore the 32,385-dwt Panama-flagged handysize bulker C.S. Victory from a berth at the Port of Ishinomaki and drove the vessel aground in a shallow harbor. All crewmembers were reported to be safe. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, which had chartered the vessel, reported Thursday that the vessel had been able to pull out of the shallow harbor under its own power and was now safely at anchor.

The 27,161-dwt Japanese drilling vessel Chikyu lost one of its six azimuth propulsion pods when hit by the tsunami about 170 miles north of the Japanese Port of Sendai. The highly advanced deep-sea drilling vessel was in the Port of Hachinohe when it was warned of the impending tsunami. The vessel departed the port at full speed, a maneuver that tore off the engine pod. The ship remains in the port awaiting repairs.

The tsunami washed South Korea-based Hyundai Glovis' 6,901-dwt freighter Glovis Mercury ashore in Sendai. No other details regarding the vessel or crew were reported.

The tsunami also pushed the 6,175-dwt Panama-flagged Capesize freighter Asia Symphony onto the road along the shore of Kamaisha. The Mitsubishi Logistics Corp. vessel remains high and dry, upright on the shore with the rear quarter of the vessel hanging over the water.

The 1,592-dwt Japanese freighter Koshin Maru either sank or ran aground due to the tsunami, though no location or fate of the crew has been given. The vessel is classified as a Hazard D dry cargo vessel.

The tsunami dragged the 523-dwt Russian reefer ship Khrizolitoviy inland from its berth at the Port of Ofunato, before the ship was carried back out into the port where it is now reported to be adrift with a damaged main engine. One crewmember suffered an unidentified broken limb. The 13 crewmembers aboard were rescued and reported in good condition. Two additional crewmembers were ashore at the time of the tsunami, but reported safe.

An unidentified ship, with 81 dock and/or shipyard workers aboard, was swept away by the tsunami from a shipyard in Ishinomaki. While initially feared lost, the Japan Navy and Coast Guard eventually located the adrift vessel and rescued the workers using helicopters. It was also reported at the same time that the unknown vessel had sprung a leak and was taking on water.

Japanese authorities on Thursday said that the northern ports of Hachinohe, Ishinomaki, Onahama and Sendai have been severely damaged, if not fully destroyed. Other northern ports with varying degrees of damage include Hitachinaka, Hitachi, Kesennuma, Kamashi, Miyako, Ofunato, Shiogama, and Soma.