The container ship ONE Apus returned to sea, more than three months after it sought refuge in Japan following one of the worst container losses at sea ever recorded. The 14,052 TEU vessel departed Kobe, Japan, on March 16, resuming the interrupted voyage to Long Beach, California, where it is now expected to arrive on March 30, four months after it lost 1,816 containers at sea during severe weather approximately 1,600 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. .
The ONE Apus departed Kobe at noon with only a partial load. It had arrived in Kobe on December 8 and had begun the delicate process of unloading the dislodged containers. By the end of February, ONE reported that nearly 1,000 containers had been unloaded. They were sorting them into containers that were badly damaged, those that could be transported and those that remained stable.
The plan was to reload as many original containers as had been unloaded. However, ONE cautioned, “there are some containers that were originally transported on ONE Apus and may need to be transported on different vessels due to safety and/or operational restrictions.” Shippers were also required to update and resubmit documentation to facilitate the shipment and disembarkation of containers in California.
Cargo claims consultants, WK Webster, reported that their inspectors remained in daily attendance to verify which containers were unloaded and also to perform an initial external inspection and to review the cargo status on any containers being loaded.
Images from the Kobe dock show the mangled remains of numerous containers. No additional details have been released about the nature of the loss, other than initial statements that 64 dangerous goods containers were among the 1,816 lost overboard. Insurance experts believe claims will total more than $100 million.
Webster reports that investigations into the possible cause of the incident have continued. “The experts we have appointed have been reviewing weather reports, voyage data, vessel design, damage patterns and similar incidents where there may be certain common factors that contributed to the cause of the incident,” Webster writes. Flag state representatives and classification society inspectors also toured the ship during its stay in Kobe.
Once it arrives at the San Pedro Bay port complex, the ONE Apus will have to enter the queue to reach its terminal. ONE estimates that it may not be alongside until April 7. Maersk experienced a similar problem when its container ships Maersk Essen and Maersk Eindhoven , both of which also suffered container losses at sea, arrived at the port. The Maersk Essen arrived at the port on March 2 and was able to reach the terminal two days later. It departed Los Angeles for Asia on March 11. The Maersk Eindhoven arrived at anchorage on March 13 and is currently awaiting space at the terminal.