Thousands Stranded by Ship Container Accident

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shungang-19

Thousands of cruise liner passengers were stranded yesterday after 37 containers fell into the Yangtze River.

What happened?

The containers, loaded with waste paper scrap, blocked the waterway after falling at 9:57pm on Wednesday from the cargo ship Shunkang 19 near Shanghai Wusongkou port.

No dangerous cargo:

The city’s maritime authority confirmed there were no dangerous goods stored in the containers. A total of 129 containers had been loaded when the accident happened.

The ship had left Waigaoqiao port in Pudong and was heading to Taicang in neighboring Jiangsu Province when it was hit amidship by a strong wave, said Gao Qingchun, the captain. “After the wave, the ship inclined slowly, throwing the containers into the river.”

As of last night, seven of the containers had been salvaged after the rescue center with the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration dispatched 11 salvage ships, six tugboats and 11 patrolling vessels to search, position and salvage the containers from the river.

The containers had initially floated off before sinking to the riverbed, making it difficult to find them in a short period, according to the administration. The furthest salvaged container was found 16 kilometers away.

Two survey boats were continuing to scan the waterway near Wusongkou port to ensure the safety of vessels in the Yangtze and Huangpu rivers. Divers were sent to search for any suspicious objects.

The waterway for cruise liners was closed at Wusongkou port due to the accident, affecting about 13,000 inbound and outbound passengers, Baoshan District government said.

Two cruise ships, the Quantum of the Seas and the Costa Serena that were scheduled to berth at Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal yesterday morning had to anchor about 2km away.

More than 6,000 inbound passengers were aboard the liners.

They were scheduled to release those passengers at the terminal and take a new batch of 7,000 outbound passengers yesterday evening.

About 400 passengers were stranded at the terminal yesterday. The management of the terminal later sent them to nearby hotels to await for the reopening of the waterway, said Peng Zhaoyun, a manager with the terminal.

The maritime authority would dispatch guiding ships to escort the cruise liners to berth at the terminal after the waterway was cleared and confirmed as safe, said Liu Wei, deputy director with the command center of Wusong maritime bureau.

Ferries between Baoshan and Chongming districts were suspended yesterday.

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Source: Shanghai Daily

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