Sicily get’s kicked

Some habits dies hard. Take for instance, Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.’s (MSC) adventures on the St Lawrence river. As I type this, the MSC Sicily is proceeding to Montreal under close escort of Ocean Groupe’s Montreal based tugs, Ocean Intrepide, and Ocean Jupiter. Earlier today, the MSC Sicily suffer some sort of blackout, and loss steering, while under way in the St Lawrence river. The ship went out of the channel and was grounded around 10:30 this morning about ten mile south west of Sorel. The two tugs rushed to the rescue, and pull her off around mid afternoon.

If it seems to you that MSC vessels seem to suffer an inordinate number of casualties on the St Lawrence, your not alone. Although I could not find specific examples of their track record, I have heard of numerous occurrences; and in a conversation with a local pilot, he reveals the line has had 5 mishaps in recent years, on the St Lawrence. His sentiment seems to be that the line was placing its older tonnage on the route, saving its modern tonnage for the Pacific trade.

He went to say that the sister ship of the Sicily was scrapped last year. Judging by its recent track record, the MSC Sicily may be facing the same fate sooner rather than later. Under the Paris MOU, Port State Control inspector from Transport Canada, at the Port of Montreal, detained the vessel in March of this year. The ship has racked up a further 16 deficiencies on various other PSC inspections, in less than two years.

One of the most recent, and noteworthy occurrence with MSC in the St Lawrence, was in March 2008, when the MSC Sabrina ran aground, just off Three Rivers, between Montreal and Quebec City. You can see and extensive report of the accident on Cargolaw’s website.

Its a good thing Groupe Ocean, with its modern fleet of powerful tugs, is on MSC’s speed dial. Above, are some picture I took today of the MSC Sicily. Here is a picture from shore.

MSC Sicily
IMO number: 7718034
Call Sign : VREE8
Gross tonnage : 20676
DWT : 24355
Width : 28 m
Length : 186 m
Type of ship : Container Ship
Year of build : 1978
Flag : Hong Kong, China
Class : Lloyd’s Register
Ship manager : SHANGHAI COSTAMARE SHIP MGMT (Shanghai)
Registered owner : NIGEL SHIPPING CO
Ex: ASAIN PEARL 1978-1991, CARMEN 1991-1992, CALIFORNIA EXPRESS 1992-1993, PRESTIGE 1993-1998, MSC CHINA 1998-2001

This article has 4 Comments

  1. You are not alone in that suspicion, here on the North Sea there were a few mishaps with MSC vessels as well, groundings, collisions, black-outs etc.

  2. What major container line is still sailing ships built in 1978? There is only one that I know of and that is MSC.
    With a surplus of new ships coming out, and numbers of laid up container ships, surely MSC could step up to the plate and get some new tonnage.
    Two issues remain:
    1. The St.Lawrence is too shallow for most deep draft occean going container ships(low water levels this year only make that worse)
    2. Most container ships are not built to high enough ice classification for the St.Lawrence.

  3. The passing of an era always brings sadness. I'm not sure, though, if the Philippines is better off with its shipbuilding and shiprepair sectors virtually under foreign control. Foreign shipyards, of course, have decided to set up shop locally because of the cheap labour available.

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