The Emma Maersk, the world’s largest container ship, is being towed by tug to a ship repair yard in Sicily after its engine room flooded during an accident as it was about to transit the Suez Canal en route to Europe at the beginning of February.
The vessel, capable of carrying 15,500 20-foot-equivalent container units, left the Suez Canal Container Terminal on Sunday night headed for the Fincantieri repair facility in Palermo, its owner Maersk Line said.
The Feb. 1 accident is being attributed to the failure of the stern thruster propeller blades that cracked the ship’s hull and resulted in the flooding of the engine room. It was carrying the equivalent of 13,537 20-foot containers at the time, 6,245 of which were loaded with cargo.
The containers were offloaded at the Suez Canal Terminal, and Maersk said it was able to organize its fleet to replace the Emma Maersk during its absence without chartering in replacement tonnage.
A Maersk spokesman said the vessel will likely be out of action between two and four months.