Another container ship loses power near NYC bridge, days after Baltimore disaster

As Baltimore embarked on the massive cleanup project to clear the water following the recent bridge collapse, similar circumstances nearly befell New York City.

The Dali collision that sent the Francis Scott Key Bridge into the Patapsco River had readily brought to mind concerns of vulnerabilities across the country as answers as to what caused the catastrophe remained on the horizon.

Friday, those concerns nearly became reality as the United States Coast Guard confirmed that an 89,000 ton container vessel making its way between Staten Island, New York and Bayonne, New Jersey lost propulsion.

Indicating that the boat was brought to anchor near the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn, maritime journalist John Konrad shared an image of the APL Qingdao citing a tugboat captain who said, “They had 3 escort tugs but 3 more were needed to bring her under control. They regained power & were brought to anchor near the verrazano bridge.”

A statement from the U.S. Coast Guard provided to the New York Post confirmed, “Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service New York received a report from the M/V APL Qingdao around 8:30 pm, Friday, that the vessel had experienced a loss of propulsion in the Kill Van Kull waterway. The vessel regained propulsion and was assisted to safely anchor in Stapleton Anchorage, outside the navigable channel just north of the Verrazano Bridge, by three towing vessels.”

“These towing vessels were escorting the vessel as a routine safety measure, which is a common practice for large vessels departing their berth,” added the spokesperson of the ship that had been navigating one of the area’s busiest waterways.

Hours before the APL Qingdao’s propulsion mishap, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece that argued the Verrazzano was secure from suffering a similar fate to that of the Francis Scott Key Bridge

“While the Verrazzano shares some characteristics with the Key Bridge, there are also important differences. First, its massive vertical supports are positioned much closer to land than the Key Bridge’s–1,000 feet away from the harbor’s navigation channel–making them considerably less likely to be hit by an errant vessel,” contended the piece.

“The towers also are surrounded by rock islands, which would force any ship heading toward the supports to run aground before striking the tower,” it continued. “Additional safety projects have further hardened protections, even adding an air gap sensor system that detects vertical clearances between the bridge and large vessels passing underneath.”

Konrad added another stark contrast between NYC and Baltimore as he detailed, “One major difference between Baltimore and New York is the US Coast Guard operates Vessel Traffic Service in NY…VTS is like air traffic control. They monitor all ships and tugs and can respond quickly to emergencies…Baltimore did not have VTS Service.”

Registered in Malta, French company CMA CGM claimed ownership of the APL Qingdao which, according to Business Insider, ultimately departed New York Harbor on Sunday morning after repairs.

The Post also noted that the vessel, which unlike the Dali did not appear to have lost power, had been en route to Norfolk, Virginia.

Kevin Haggerty


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