Zim Kingston walks to the terminal to begin the recovery operation
More than a month after the incident in which the container ship Zim Kingston lost 109 containers overboard and suffered a container fire, the vessel was eventually cleared to proceed to port. Early this morning, the vessel began to leave the anchorage off Victoria, Canada, towards DP World’s Duke Point terminal, located on the east coast of Victoria Island in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Transport Canada issued a statement early on December 3 confirming that the Zim Kingston had met all Transport Canada safety requirements and that the vessel was cleared to proceed to the terminal. The 85 nautical mile voyage was to last up to 11 hours, with the boxship being escorted by two tugs. In addition, US and Canadian Coast Guard vessels were monitoring the vessel’s movements in their respective waters and a marine mammal monitoring vessel and environmental monitoring were also expected.
Movement to the terminal is the first step in a multi-step recovery plan for the vessel. The damage plan calls for the 4,253 TEU container ship to drop anchor in port and then proceed to the quay where the first phase of the rescue operation will begin. Officials said the decision was made to take the ship to the furthest port due to congestion in Vancouver and the complexity of the operation. They explained that Nanaimo was large enough to accommodate the ship, but received less traffic and did not suffer from the same congestion as Vancouver.
At the terminal, the plan is to remove containers directly affected by the fire or which have become unstable or lost. They estimated that around 60 containers will be unloaded and that it could take up to 10 days to complete this recovery phase.
Once all damaged and lost containers have been dealt with, the plan is to Zim Kingston to complete their initial trip and travel to the Vancouver terminal. Norman cargo handling is scheduled for Vancouver, unloading the cases as originally planned. Zim, so far, has not made a statement on the plans for the ship after this point.
Clean-up efforts are still underway to detect possible debris from the containers. The majority of the containers were said to have sunk, although a few were seen in the water and washed up on shore in the days following the crash.