Severe Winds Caused Ship Breakaway


Severe, unforecasted winds caused a containership to break away from a pier and damaged equipment at the​ Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal in New Orleans, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.


The containership was loading cargo while moored at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal in New Orleans, Louisiana, when a sudden, localized thunderstorm passed through the area. 

The vessel’s mooring lines parted in the high winds, and the ship moved away from the pier. Containers being lifted by shoreside gantry cranes struck the ship, and one damaged container dropped in the water, spilling a cargo of plastic pellets. 

A crane operator suffered a minor injury; no other injuries were reported among ship and shore personnel. 

The total cost of damages was estimated at $15 million for the shoreside gantry cranes and $60,196 for the ship.

What We Found

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the breakaway of the containership from the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal wharf and the ensuing equipment damage was the sudden onset of unforecasted severe winds likely originating from the outflow of a thunderstorm-generated downburst.​

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