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.