Update: MV Meri rams Holtenau high bridges in Kiel Canal
Updated on December 5 with company statement.
Meriaura’s multipurpose deck cargo carrier, MV Meri, was the cause of the Kiel Canal closing early on November 30, as German media reported the vessel ramming two bridges while in transit. According to the AIS data provided by VesselsValue, the vessel was on its way from Rostock in Germany to Esbjerg in Denmark.
According to reports in the German media, the incident occurred at 4:30 in the morning when Meri was passing the Holtenau high bridges with a crane loaded onboard the vessel. The reports say that the boom of the crane collided with both bridges for reasons that are as of yet unknown. The vessel had just passed the lock before incident happened.
Currently, according to the AIS data, the vessel is moored near the bridge, while Kiel Canal and both bridges are closed for all traffic as investigation into the integrity of the bridge continues. It was also reported that parts of the crane that struck the bridges may have fallen into the water.
“From what I know right now, there is damage to the cargo and to the vessel, but the extent is still unknown,” Beppe Rosin, Meriaura managing director told Project Cargo Journal. He further noted that inspectors are on the way to asses the situation and further details will be known as the investigation closes.
However, Beppi also said that “everything was done by the book, with a pilot onboard and permission granted to transit the canal. Everything was measured and to my knowledge the crew has taken all the necessary steps to carry out the operation properly.” He concluded that while there is damage to the vessel and the cargo, no one was injured in the accident.
Since Project Cargo Journal contacted Meriaura, the company issued a statement saying, the height of the cargo had been checked by the canal authorities, and the ship had been given permission to proceed into the canal. At the time of the incident, the ship also had a pilot on board as per requirements by the canal authorities. The authorities are investigating the cause of the accident, and will give instructions regarding further actions. Based on the current information, there is no evidence indicating that the accident would have been caused by the actions of the crew or the technical condition of the ship.
Based on the images in the German media, the crane onboard the vessel is a Liebherr LHM 600 destined for Port Esbjerg. Earlier this year the port ordered an LHM 800 and was expecting the delivery of the LHM 600 before the end of the year.