By Jite Eriabie
The 4,922-teu Iran-flagged containership Touska ran aground on a tiny islet off the southwest coast of main Hong Kong island on Sunday night.
According to vessel tracking services, the fully laden IRISL-operated ship was in transit from Kaohsiung and bound for Shenzhen when it apparently strayed off the East Lamma Channel at about 2100 hrs, and ran aground on the well-marked Magazine Island to the north of the busy shipping lane, which comprises part of the traffic separation scheme leading into Hong Kong Port and the Pearl River Delta.
Local reports cited eyewitnesses as saying they saw sparks coming off the bow as the vessel closed on the island, speculating that the crew had dropped the anchor in a desperate attempt to stop the vessel before it ran straight into the middle of the islet, which prevented it from further progress and avoided a potential crash into a residential estate and fish market several hundred metres beyond on the shoreline. The islet is also at the entrance of a busy small boat anchorage in Aberdeen.
None of the crew and no other parties were injured. The Marine Department is investigating the incident. While there was a strong wind warning at the time, conditions were not especially severe at the time.
In 2014, the German-flagged Hansa Constitution ran aground and almost hit the sea wall just a mile or so up the same coast, and also very close to offices and residential areas in CyberPort. The incident was blamed on mechanical failure of the vessel. There was a strong wind warning and low visibility alert up at the time.
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