Overnight, attempts to steady a containership that was grounded near the entrance to the port of Kaohsiung in Taiwan failed. The abandoned feeder ship kept taking on water after it was left on Thursday. It sank early on Friday, July 21, with empty boxes floating in the busy waterway. On Thursday, port officials shut down one of the entrances to Kaohsiung. Today, they had to do the same thing to the other door as they worked to get more than 1,300 containers off the ship. Part of the port operations are back up and running, but people are still being warned about the dangers of the boxes.
Officials in coastal towns to the south also warned ships and fishing businesses that the boxes were likely to end up in their waterways. The Angel, a 21-year-old container ship, was docked about 2.8 nautical miles from Kaohsiung. It had been there since July 4, when it arrived from Dalian, China. Locals told the media that the ship had been leaning for a week, and they had seen the tilt get worse.
On Thursday morning, the ship’s captain told officials at the dock that the situation was dangerous and that all 19 crew members had been told to leave the ship. They were taken to shore while attempts to stabilize the ship were made. Reports say that a plan to possibly tow the ship to shallower seas was turned down because people were worried about an oil leak and the ship was getting more and more unstable.
It is not clear who owns the ship or what it has been doing lately. The ship is owned by Navramar Shipping, which is based in the Marshall Islands. They bought the ship in May 2023, according to the Equasis database. The ship was registered in Palau, and Azerbaijan is where the management office is mentioned. Equasis says that it was taken off the Indian register and that DNV shows that the ship’s current class status is unknown as of the beginning of June. Also, the database doesn’t show any inspections by the Port State since 2018. The port officials and the Coast Guard are keeping an eye on the area around the sunk ship, they say.
Yesterday, they put up oil control booms and said that there are almost 500 tons of light diesel and low sulfur fuel on board. By law, the ship’s owner has to give the port a plan for saving the ship. Officials said that they are asking the ship’s managers for a plan to get rid of the oil on the ship, deal with the containers that are floating in the water, and eventually refloat and get rid of the hulk.