• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:11am
NewsHong Kong

On the rocks: picture shows how close huge cargo ship came to collision at Pok Fu Lam

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 April, 2014, 9:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 4:03pm

With its prow resting on the rocks at Pok Fu Lam, this dramatic picture shows just how close a 193-metre container ship came to a potentially disastrous end after being blown off course following a mechanical failure.

The German-registered Hansa Constitution ran aground on Sunday afternoon, just feet from the sea wall and a path popular with joggers.

Fire chiefs said it had suffered a mechanical malfunction while on its way to Shenzhen.

Video shot by resident Kevin Sites showed the ship curving in a wide arc before heading straight for land.

He said he had been alerted to the incoming cargo ship on hearing a loud screeching noise.

The captain, he said, appeared to have dropped anchor as the boat approached Hong Kong, slowing the vessel to an eventual standstill.

On spotting the boat he started filming. Witnesses can be heard asking whether they should call for emergency help.

Others stood on land in the rain wondering whether the ship would slow down or plough into the sea wall.

A spokeswoman for Hansa Treuhand Gruppe, which owns the vessel, said the accident could have been caused by a loss of power. 

Yesterday Hong Kong Observatory had warned of strong winds, while visibility was reduced to two nautical miles in some areas, according to the Marine Department.

Two diving support vessels as well as two fireboats were deployed and the cargo vessel was subsequently towed free.

No one onboard or ashore was hurt and the vessel appeared to have escaped unscathed.

Watch: Container ship runs aground off Pok Fu Lam

Hong Kong is one of the world’s busiest ports, with more than 425,000 vessels arriving and departing in 2010, according to official figures.

On any given day, scores of cargo ships can be seen moored in clusters around the port, and at night the horns of passing leviathan container vessels ships echo towards the city.

The city has been battered by strong winds and squally thunderstorms on and off for the past week.


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This article is now closed to comments

One more reason to get this ridiculous industry out of Hong Kong.
That ship is literally just a few meters away from blanketing our home with a toxic oil spill. For the next 100 years. Hello financial crisis? Our real estate will be next to worthless.
Why do we put up with this stuff? Air pollution generated by these ships is already terrible enough.
It looks like a semi controlled grounding to me -- if there had to be one. The bow area is the best point to take a grounding impact. Any other angle may lead to the opening of ballast or fuel tanks.The pilot would have boarded off Middle Island Aberdeen range. Its likely they took this course of action as there may be submarine cables on the Lamma side of the channel which an anchor coming in contact with would wreak costly havoc. It appears that initially the anchor had been let go in an attempt to keep the vessel off the beach but the momentum of a vessel moving at about 5-8 knots would part the anchor cable thats why you can hear the chain running out before it grounded. If they lost power then slowly steerage way will cease. Using the starboard anchor would to some extent drag the bow to starboard as it kedged through the sand or over the rocky sea bed. We dont actually know what happened but if you see a lot of exhaust from a vessel- black smoke and lots of it coming out of the funnel in a burst its usually due to an astern movement of the Engine. A lesser amount of black smoke will appear on the first ahead movement. It is possible an electronic signal failed and something jammed. It was obviously overcome by the engineers whilst the vessel was grounded.
johndoe, you display complete ignorance. Read the article.
This 'ridiculous' industry, provides 90% of what we use, eat, and generate our power with on this planet.
Healthily Cynical
This ridiculous industry? You mean an industry that is the largest employer? Trade is a foundation of Hong Kong's prosperity and its what helps support the value of your real estate. Totally agree get them to burn clean fuel when in port like in the rest of the world, but get rid of the industry? Ridiculous.
Complete power outtage doesn't mean the captain couldn't alert harbour patrol (do we even have it?) via other emergency communication devices. Unless the order from port authorities was to stay the heck away, wouldn't patrol vessels at least be chapperoning the incoming ship? This is totally bizzare. Again, scmp reporters failed to tell anything worthwhile and offered zero insights on the matter. Still, they needed TWO reporters on this wow piece. WOW.
Harbour patrol could not have done anything. Correct procedure is to drop anchor asap and stop the ship. Been there and done that:)
The girls on shore made me do it.
You don't stop a ship adrift with a whistle:)
Would be interesting to learn if there was a licensed Hong Kong pilot on board at the time or just the German (?) crew.



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