The ultra large boxship CSCL Jupiter that ran aground in the River Scheldt on August 14 had become a mini ‘tourist attraction’, Fr Jos Vanhoof, Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplain in Antwerp, Belgium said citing local press reports.
Namely, onlookers were reported to have climbed onto the sand bank the bow of the ship was stuck on.
The image of the giant vessel being stuck onto a sand bank seems to have overshadowed the importance of the welfare of the ship’s crew, who were “shaken by the incident,” according to Vanhoof.
“I went on board and met with some of the crew. They were fine albeit a little unsettled because of the uncertainty brought about by the situation,” he added.
“It was sad that nobody seemed concerned about the welfare needs of the 26 crew members. Everyone was preoccupied with who would pay for the refloating operation and other things.”
“Incidents such as this one highlight some of the difficulties seafarers face just doing their jobs and how seafarers’ welfare organisation such as AoS can play a vital role supporting crew in such circumstances,” he said.
The 366-meter long containership was refloated later that day and moved to a berth in Antwerp port, and the men had remained on board since.
Dutch Rijkswaterstaat earlier told World Maritime News that the preliminary assessment showed that there was no visible damage on the ULCV. Additionally, they said that the ship was secure.
The cause of the grounding incident was not familiar at the time.
The 2011-built boxship, operated by COSCO Shipping Lines Co., was en route from Antwerp to Hamburg when it ran into trouble.
The grounding closed all shipping traffic for large commercial vessels at the Westerschelde for safety reasons, while small commercial vessels were allowed to pass through the Schaar van de Noord.
As informed by AoS, the crew of the 14,074 TEU vessel have been denied the opportunity to go ashore during the investigations into the incident.
The ship’s latest AIS data from August 21 shows that CSCL Jupiter is moored in the port of Hamburg.