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September 26, 2023

Tanker Hits Maersk-Operated Boxship Off Malaysia While Avoiding Sanctions

On September 28, in the early morning hours, a containership and an Aframax tanker collided in the congested Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia. The identification of the tanker and its current operations are being questioned, despite the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) confirming that none of the 45 crew members on either vessel have been hurt and there have been no oil leaks.

According to Maritime Commander Mohd Haniff Mohd Yunus of the MMEA, the incident happened not long after 4:00 am local time. The tanker Zephyr I and the containership GLS Grania, both flown by Panama, were the two ships he named. At the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, close to Singapore, and around 12 nautical miles southwest of Tanjung Laboh, the collision occurred.

“The Batu Pahat maritime zone operations center dispatched the Benteng 05 boat to the location to carry out a monitoring and assistance mission,” the MMEA said in its statement. “Preliminary accident information received from the captain of MV GSL Grania stated that this violation was caused by MV Zephyr I losing control and crashing into the right side of the vessel causing damage.”

Both ships were instructed to anchor by the MMEA. They said that additional research into the cause was being done while they verified the damage to both boats. Images reveal considerable damage to the tanker’s bow and a sizable dent in the 814-foot-long containership’s stern quarter.

The 105,588 dwt tanker was reportedly carrying mixed bitumen as it headed to Yantai, China. According to Lloyd’s List, US authorities suspected the 20-year-old ship was evading punishment when they cited it earlier this year for misleading behaviour. They think that Russia is where it loaded its cargo.
The vessel’s AIS signal lacks details on the destination or voyage and ownership of the vessel is unclear. It has reportedly changed names and owners at least twice in 2022.

The containership, the 93,600 dwt GSL Grania, is a Global Ship Lease vessel that is chartered by Maersk. No injuries or container losses were reported, and Maersk confirmed that the vessel was involved in the accident. The 7,455 TEU-capable ship was travelling from Savannah, Georgia, in the United States, to Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia. When released by the Malaysian authorities to the port for an additional check, the ship will move forward, according to Maersk.

According to the Malaysian Maritime Department, it is keeping an eye on the health of both ships and has dispatched a team to look into the reports of steering failure and ascertain what led to the incident.
They have also issued a warning to all ship traffic in the area for added caution while transiting the area.

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