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Large Containership MSC Ela Finally Arrives to America Following Dublin Bay Anchorage Diversion

12th October 2018
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Large by containership standards (that is in Dublin Bay), MSC Ela of 4,900TEU capacity which made only an 'anchorage' call to collect a part following engine problems is seen departing off The Muglins Lighthouse in the south of the bay last week, Friday.  Note the pilot cutter alongside amidships. At the time regular containership caller to Dublin Port, ICG's division EUCON whose Elbstrand (circa 1000 TEU) is arriving from mainland Europe. Large by containership standards (that is in Dublin Bay), MSC Ela of 4,900TEU capacity which made only an 'anchorage' call to collect a part following engine problems is seen departing off The Muglins Lighthouse in the south of the bay last week, Friday. Note the pilot cutter alongside amidships. At the time regular containership caller to Dublin Port, ICG's division EUCON whose Elbstrand (circa 1000 TEU) is arriving from mainland Europe. Photo: JEHAN ASHMORE

#Ports&Shipping - MSC Ela, the large containership which due to engine-problem was forced to divert to Dublin Bay last week while on a voyage from UK to the USA, has finally arrived in New York Port today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Panamanian flagged MSC Ela departed Liverpool on 1st October but while off Wexford coast the next day Afloat tracked the containership turn around and proceed to Dublin Bay. For almost three days the 294m/964ft long capacity ship was at anchor, this was to await and facilitate the transfer of a part for the engine, before the ship could depart last Friday.

According to Automatic Identification System (AIS) the ship at time of writing is entering the Port of New York and New Jersey. The 54,000 gross tonnage ship is operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) which is the second-largest shipping line in the world in terms of containership capacity.

As the MSC Ela of 4,900TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) container capacity ship was offshore of Dublin Port, this type of ship is large given by the standards of the Irish capital port where a regular caller Ruth Borchard handles just 1200 TEU (though larger have called). The London based Borchard Lines vessel of 14,000 gross tonnage and at 158m docked in the port this week, on Monday having too sailed from Liverpool. Afloat tracked the Marshal Islands flagged vessel when berthed in Alexandra Basin (East).

Work is underway by Dublin Port Company to faciliate much larger cargsoships coupled with deeper draft by been able to enter the port. Adjacent to where Ruth Borchard berthed is the larger Alexandra Basin (West) where phase one of the port's Masterplan began last year.

Reconfiguration of berths and quays of the Alexandra Basin Project (ABR) costed at €230m, will also accommodate considerbly larger cruiseships with the ports first dedicated cruise terminal handling two ships. For example giants like Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 (QM2) of 149,00grt and some of the world's largest cruiseships.

The 2002 built QM2 uniquely also serves as an ocean going 'liner' by operating UK-USA transatlantic services, linking Southampton and New York . In addtion to the main cruise duties that has involved two calls offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour to where passengers where tendered ashore. The south Dublin Bay harbour likewise cannot accommodate such sized ships, hence the proposed single cruise-berth jetty.

It is the Port of Cork which can currently accommodate even larger containerships than Dublin Port, as earlier this year, the largest ever such vessel of this type called in late June. On that occasion, Hamburg Sud's Polar Costa Rica made a maiden call docking at Ringaskiddy's deepwater terminal berth following a 10 day transatlantic voyage to unload a mega cargo of fruit - including millions of bananas sourced from Central America.

Polar Costa Rica has a container capacity of 3,884TEU, though larger than MSC Ela, however the banana box-boat has a smaller gross tonnage of 43,000 gross tonnage and shorter at 230m.

The inaugural call took place on 28 June where in Ringaskiddy the terminal is undergoing a major redevelopment to include a pair of STS (ship-to-shore) gantry cranes to be installed as part of the new €80m terminal.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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