World's largest container ship Emma Maersk Update: 3 months out of action, boxes undamaged by flooding

By Accidents

Maersk Line's flagship 5,500-TEU container vessel Emma Maersk, is being expected to be out of service for 3 months after its engine room flooded in 16 meters of water and caused the mega-ship to be towed from the main channel of the Suez Canal.

Once the damaged thruster has been sealed, containers are going to be removed, giving the biggest international shipping company Maersk Line time to carry out repairs, told a company spokesman.

The mega-ship may stay in Egypt for the repairs, though the definitive decision over whether a drydock is necessary has yet to be made. Water should be pumped out slowly, with professionals on hand to manage with exposed machinery.

Dismantling, drying and repairing nearly each piece of machinery under water is going to take months to finish, particularly the huge engine, made by Wartsila and the long propeller shaft which sits at the lowest part of the container ship. In previous instances of flooded vessels, it has been acceptable to repair the engine, the propeller shaft, ancillary machinery and electronics, if corrosion is kept to a minimum.

The 1st job is to handle with the stern thruster where the water intake entered. Emma Maersk has double sets of fore and aft thrusters of Rolls Royce to help in berthing. The vice-president vessel management of Maersk Company, Palle Laursen told that the reason of the incident unknown, the company is warning its other vessels not to use stern thrusters.

Divers who were inspecting the vessel's hull and found a twenty centimetre by thirty centimetre hole in the shape of a little half circle damage very close to a forward thruster. Mr Laursen told the damage was very likely caused while the thrusters were manoeuvring the ship towards the Suez Canal. The thruster spaces are accessed via 120-meter main propeller shaft tunnel of the Emma Maersk vessel that opens to the engine room. After a bilge alarm sounded after the accident, it took just an hour for the engine room to be flooded, covering the main engine. The thirteen crew members worked the bilge system, but it wasn't just enough. There wasn't considerable flooding of the cargo holds and containers aboard weren't damaged, he added.