Containership grounding in New York blamed on contaminated fuel

The Hapag-Lloyd containership Kobe Express ran aground outside New York Harbor on March 17, after losing power as a result of contaminated fuel.
According to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Rekiya Jansen, the single-hull vessel was outbound from Bayonne, N.J., when it lost propulsion at 2214 north of buoy 19 in New York’s Lower Bay. The ship ran aground near Swinburn Island, north of the Ambrose Channel. A Sandy Hook pilot was aboard at the time. There was no damage or pollution as a result of the incident.
When the ship lost propulsion, the crew attempted to anchor as the vessel drifted toward Swinburn Island in a 20-knot wind and blowing snow. The port anchor was dropped first but did not hold. The starboard anchor was then dropped, but the ship still grounded.
Coast Guard investigators and the ship’s engineers determined that water-contaminated fuel was the cause of the problem.
The investigators were told by the ship’s officers that they were aware that they had received water-contaminated fuel in Hong Kong, but that they believed that the problem fuel had been burned off en route to New York. The vessel also fueled in New York.
The engines were restarted after the grounding, but the ship was unable to free itself. Four tugs from Moran Towing came to its assistance and freed the ship at 0445. Kobe Express proceeded to the Gravesend Anchorage for a dive survey and inspection by a surveyor from the classification society Germanischer Lloyd AG. To assure that there were no breaches to the hull or tanks, tanks were monitored every half hour.

After examining the ship, the Coast Guard and class surveyor determined that the vessel had not sustained any damage and that the fuel problem was under control. Kobe Express was released from the anchorage late in the day on March 18.

By Professional Mariner Staff