The German Navy frigate Mecklenburgvorpommern collided with the 10,318gt/2011 built containership Nordic Bremen in Germany’s Kiel Canal on 9th December at around 0344 local time, causing damage to both vessels. The containership was moored in Kiel following the collision, while the warship was brought to Brunsbüttel. The frigate sustained bow damage whilst the feeder ship was also damaged along with some of her containerised cargo.

On 16th December six crew members were missing after a general cargo ship sank in the Singapore Strait following a collision with a chemical tanker. The 7,813gt/2004 built freighter Thorco Cloud, operated by Danish shipper Thorco Shipping and registered in Antigua and Barbuda, had a crew of twelve. Singapore’s Police Coast guard, supported by the Maritime and Port authority of Singapore (MPA), rescued five of the crew members, while the chemical tanker picked up a sixth. The incident, which took place in Indonesian waters six nautical miles northwest of Batam, left the other ship, the Cayman islands-registered 23,206gt/2000 built chemical tanker Stolt Commitment with minor damage and in stable condition. The latter is owned by Stolt Tankers, part of Norwegian bulk liquid transportation and storage company Stolt-Nielsen Ltd. Five bodies were recovered from the vicinity of the submerged Thorco Cloud.

The 18th and 19th December saw the Penlee Lifeboat Ivan Ellen summoned to assist two incidents that were connected. Firstly the 7,852gt/2006 built container ship Samskip Express, en route from Rotterdam to Dublin, suffered an engine failure and was drifting at anchor off the Cornish coast near Porthleven. The lifeboat remained on station until the 369gt/1977 built salvage tug, MTS viscount, was safely alongside and giving assistance to the ship. The next morning the Ivan Ellen was again called upon as the MTS viscount now had a rope fouled around her propeller and was about a mile off Newlyn. The lifeboat assisted the tug to safety.

The chemical tanker 2,874gt/1989 built Stena Lyra caught fire off Mosjoen, Norway on 22nd December. The fire ignited in the engine control room, due to a short circuit of the engineering equipment and spread to the whole compartment. The crew was forced to emergency stop all engines and diesel generators and to drop anchor to prevent grounding. The crew from the engine department was evacuated and the Co2 firefighting system was started. The fire was extinguished in half an hour, but the ship remained powerless so she was towed to Mosjoen for inspection and repair works. When repaired, the Stena Lyra continued her voyage to Liepaja, Latvia.

on Christmas Day a fire broke out in one of the cargo holds of the 3,870gt/2006 built general cargo ship Ventura as she was about to enter the Kiel Canal. The ship was on her way from Liepaja, Latvia to Brunsbüttel, transporting beet pulp, when smoke started billowing from one of the cargo holds, forcing the ship to dock at a nearby quay in Kiel. Local firefighters were dispatched to the scene who managed to contain the fire to allow for a part of the cargo to be unloaded and embers to be extinguished. The ship’s crew members and captain were reported to be safe and the vessel did not sustain major damage. The Ventura departed Cuxhaven for Casablanca, Morocco, on 28th December.

Also on Christmas Day came the news that the 1,491gt/1981 built general cargo ship Heng Star had collided with the 190gt passenger ferry Sindo Empress in the Singapore Strait off Sekupang, Indonesia. The ferry was en route from Singapore to Sekupang, while the ship was en route from Singapore to Surabaya, Indonesia. Human error was the cause with only minor damage sustained.

The 1,369gt/1988 built cargo ship Pluto Island was abandoned after fire in the East China Sea in late December. The ship was 30 nautical miles off Seogwipo, South Korea with all nine crew being taken to safety. The ship had been en route from Hakata, Japan to Ningbo, China with a cargo of scrap.

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