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Containership Towed to New Zealand After Mayday Call

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 12, 2023

Shiling adrift off the coast of New Zealand (Photo: Carl Babe / Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust)

Shiling adrift off the coast of New Zealand (Photo: Carl Babe / Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust)

A Singapore-registered containership that lost power and steering in heavy seas off the west coast of New Zealand has been towed to safety.

The 5,100 TEU capacity Shiling requested assistance from Maritime New Zealand at around 8:30 a.m. local time Friday, after losing main propulsion while en route from Auckland to Wellington.

The 294-meter-long containership started rolling severely after drifting into heavy swells about 22 nautical miles northwest of Farewell Spit and issued a mayday call at 11 a.m. The 24 crewmembers on board were preparing to abandon ship, according to Maritime New Zealand.

New Zealand authorities arranged a tow from a nearby oceangoing tug, DOF's Skandi Emerald. The high-powered anchor handler arrived on scene at 4:27 p.m. and started connecting up with the Shiling at 4:42 p.m. The stricken box ship was then towed to Golden Bay where it anchored to be assessed for repair.

Several rescue helicopters and rescue vessels, including assets from NZ Police, Coastguard, and St John Airdesk, were stationed nearby in case the incident evolved into an emergency rescue situation, Maritime New Zealand said.

"We [had] a NZDF’s P-8A Poseidon in the air above the ship to coordinate assistance, and other response assets [were] available should they be required," said Mike Clulow, operations manager at Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand.

No injuries have been reported, and all cargo is said to have remained secure throughout the event. At no time was the vessel in danger of running aground, Maritime New Zealand said.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said it is investigating the cause of this incident and rendering assistance to the ship's master and technical manager Asian-Alliance Ship Management (ASM) of Singapore.

The incident is the second of late for the 2005-built Shiling. The vessel had just been repaired after losing power of Wellington in mid-April.

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