A giant Maersk containership, Mumbai Maersk has run aground off the German island of Wangerooge in the North Sea.
The 399 m long and 59 m wide ship was on its way from Rotterdam to the German port city of Bremerhaven when it ran aground at around 23.00 hrs on Wednesday 2nd February.
The operation to free the ship began overnight, with several tugboats and multipurpose vessels dispatched to the scene.
A team of specially trained seafarers was also brought on board.
A first attempt to bring the container ship back into deeper water failed, a spokesperson for the command said.
A high tide later on Thursday also proved insufficient to get the ship moving.
Maritime salvage experts are now waiting for the next high tide, at around 2am on Friday, to get the vessel into deeper water.
The ship, which originates from Asia, was only partially loaded when it ran aground on its way to the Bremerhaven port.
The cause of the incident was not immediately clear.
Online shipping trackers show that the Mumbai Maersk sailed in a tight circle before bumping up against the bottom of the Wadden Sea.
The local water police have launched an investigation, a spokesperson in the German city of Oldenburg said.
Maersk released a statement that said:
“We can confirm that on 2 February at around 23:00 CET, Mumbai Maersk was grounded outside Bremerhaven, Germany. All crew are safe, there is no pollution and no sign of hull breach. The vessel is on ground on a shallow patch and as such the entrance to the port is not obstructed and port operations is running as normal. Sailing from Asia, the vessel had its last stop in the port of Rotterdam before grounding outside of Bremerhaven. The vessel was on its way to discharge and consequently the cargo meant for Bremerhaven is still onboard, along with cargo destined for the Scandinavian countries.”
“For cargo in the port of Bremerhaven waiting to be loaded, if the next refloating attempts do not prove to be successful, we will look into alternative means of transport to move this cargo to its intended destinations.”