On 8th May the Orkney based Coastguard emergency tug Herakles was summoned to a ship 90 miles north-west of Foula. The 7,138gt/2011 built Industrial Kennedy was carrying a cargo of steel pipes to Norway from Gibraltar when she blew a turbo-charger, sparking the incident. While there was no immediate danger, the tug was initially tasked to the area as a precaution due to the oil installations in the wider area should the vessel drift. The tug then took the vessel under tow, and at first headed towards Scrabster before changing course for Lerwick where the ensemble safely arrived.
In Bremerhaven on 14th May a 52-year-old container crane operator died when a boom of the crane he was operating at the APM Terminal collapsed and crashed onto a container ship being handled 50 metres below. The unfortunate operator was loading and unloading the 6,674 TEU Maersk Karachi when the boom collapsed and his control gondola fell into a hold of the vessel. The emergency crews found the deceased man after several hours of searching and clearing the site. Nobody else was injured in the crash. The 80,942gt/1998 built Maersk Karachi and several containers aboard the ship suffered damage and required repairs prior to departing. During these repair works on 22nd May a fire, believed to be caused by welding, broke out aboard the container ship. Four tugs with fire fighting equipment and seventy fire fighters battled with the flames for eight hours before the blaze was finally contained (above). No one was injured in this incident, as the workers repairing the Maersk Karachi had enough time to leave the ship.
It was reported on 14th May that the Chemical Tanker Alpine Eternity had come under fire from Iranian authorities causing yet more concerns in the shipping industry as the vital Strait of Hormuz becomes increasingly unstable. According to reports, five boats from the Iranian revolutionary guard opened fire in international waters on the 46,105dwt ship and she only managed to escape further shots by changing course and heading into United Arab Emirates waters where three local coast guard vessels came to protect the tanker. The alpine Eternity was the third ship to be fired on by Iranian vessels in a month, the most high profile case being the Oaktree-owned Maersk Tigris, which was captured and taken into Iranian waters until a $10m fine was paid by the charterer, Maersk.
The 61,991gt/2003 built Aframax crude tanker Lady M caught fire 500 nautical miles off Ponta Delgada on 14th May, during a voyage from the Middle East to the USA, which damaged the engine and left the ship adrift. An oceangoing tug was sent from the Canary Islands to tow the ship to Las Palmas but, as she was loaded with 90,000 tonnes of gasoline, an inspection was required before the vessel could reach port. Permission was finally granted on 31st May for the ship to enter port.
The 8,032gt/2008 built container ship Conmar Island picked a fight with a buoy in the Swedish port of Norrkoping on 30th May and her propeller became entangled in the buoy’s chain tether. Once the storm that contributed to the accident had abated the ship was towed to a berth to be repaired.
On 25th May the 23,401gt/1998 built Purple Beach (above) caught fire in the North Sea whilst carrying a highly flammable cargo of fertiliser. The initial fire, when the ship was 17 nautical miles off Heligoland, was extinguished but it reignited the next day. Three salvage ships were deployed to assist the ship and a total of 36 people, including 22 crew and some fire-fighters, were taken to hospital for gas poisoning. No one was seriously injured. The German population living near the scene were warned about possible air pollution drifting their way. The Macs Shipping vessel was en route from the UK to Germany and on 28th May efforts to offload the cargo were hampered by stormy seas. Salvage ships worked around the clock to shower the cargo holds with some 500 m3 of seawater to prevent an explosion.
Also at the end of May the 3,430gt/2010 built LPG Carrier Scali Reali suffered engine failure and a blackout off Karsto in Norway whilst en route from Le Havre, France to Haugesung, Norway. Fortunately the weather conditions were good and the ship was towed to Karsto anchorage for repairs.
On the evening of 2nd June at around 2200 the 52,288gt/1991 built car carrier Courage reported a fire onboard whilst 40 miles off Harwich, Essex. The ship reported the incident to Dover Maritime rescue Coordination Centre which put the RAF Wattisham helicopter on standby but it was not needed. The vessel anchored in Sandown Bay having been en-route from Bremerhaven to Southampton. Specialists from Hampshire Fire and rescue assessment team were airlifted aboard to make sure it was safe for the Pilot to embark and take the vessel alongside in Southampton.
On 2nd June the Handymax bulk carrier Jian Qiang, which went aground off Port Arthur, Texas a week before, was still stuck fast and was to be relieved of some of her cargo before being refloated. Bad weather had hampered progress with the Cosco owned 26,790gt/1996 built ship.