Massive Cargo Vessel Loses Power In New York City Waters

According to the United States Coast Gaurd, the 89,000-ton cargo vessel APL “Qingdao” lost power in the water around New York City, something that frightened many given the Singapore-flagged cargo vessel that smashed into and destroyed Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge just two weeks before. This vessel lost power on Friday, April 5, and was eventually able to regain power and steam away.

The Coast Guard reports that the Qingdao lost propulsion power at about 8:30 pm EST on April 5 while it was attempting to traverse New York’s Kill Van Kull, the shipping run between Staten Island, New York, and Bayonne, New Jersey. Losing power while in the shipping lane, the Qingdao came to rest for some time near New York’s Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

After the vessel temporarily lost power, the three tugboats involved in escorting it through the waterway were able to continue guiding it. Then, when it eventually regained propulsion power, it was guided to a spot north of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and anchored.

In its statement on the incident, the Coast Guard explained when and where the massive cargo vessel lost power, explaining, “Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service New York received a report from the M/V APL Qingdao around 8:30pm, 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 of the navigable channel just north of the Verrazano Bridge, by three towing vessels,” the Coast Guard continued, explaining how it eventually was able to make it away from the bridge. It added, “These towing vessels were escorting the vessel as a routine safety measure, which is a common practice for large vessels departing their berth.”

John Konrad, the CEO of a maritime news outlet called gCaptain, posted about the incident on X (formerly Twitter), noting that the vessel was, after coming to rest, floating precariously close to a span of the bridge. He included a picture showing the vessel’s dangerous proximity to the important bridge.

Konrad quoted a tug captain in his tweet, saying, “BREAKING: A NY tugboat captain has reported to @gCaptain ‘container ship APL QINGDAO lost power while transiting New York harbor. 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‘”

According to the New York Post, “The Kill Van Kull is a narrow, 3-mile-long tidal strait separating Newark Bay — home to the Port Newark Container Terminal — and Upper New York Bay.” The NYP adds that the straight “is one of the Port of New York and New Jersey’s busiest waterways.”

After the Qingdao broke down in that busy straight, the Coast Guard required numerous certifications and reports from the stricken ship’s crew. For one. the vessel’s broken propulsion system had to be fully repaired and certified as fully operational before it could steam away. Further, the crew had to provide to the Coast Gaurd a detailed casualty report in which it explained precisely what went wrong with the ship when it lost propulsion power. After those reports and certifications had been satisfactorily filed, the vessel was allowed to resume its voyage.

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