Huge container ship runs aground: "Almost went straight into a village"

A huge cargo ship has got stuck in the Western Scheldt. Traffic on the Scheldt Estuary is heavily disrupted, as only smaller cargo ships can pass to reach the port of Antwerp. A first attempt to get the ship going again, failed. A second attempt will be made at high tide, tonight around 8 o'clock. It seems the ship had a technical failure, going straight ahead in a curve where it had to go left, running aground at relatively high speed.

The ship measures 366 metres in length and can carry up to 155,000 tons. It got stuck in the vicinity of the Dutch town of Bath, on the north-east banks of the estuary, at a notorious section called The Bocht van Bath (the curve of Bath).

While the Scheldt estuary may look extremely wide, the passageway for big ships is very small. The vessel had just left the port this morning and was bound for Hamburg when things went wrong.

The Bocht van Bath is one of the most hazardous sections of the Western Scheldt. However, the accident was due to a technical failure, Annik Dirkx of the Antwerp Port Company told the VRT. Because of the failure, the ship could no longer be manoeuvred correctly.

The giant went straight ahead, running into the shore at a relatively high speed of 12 knots, it is said (over 20 km/u). The VRT's Luc De Smet said the scene looks like the ship almost continued straight into a small village.

New attempt to be made tonight

Traffic of cargo ships on the busy artery between the North Sea and the port of Antwerp was halted at first, but it was later decided that smaller cargo ships - up to 200 metres in lentgh - can pass during daylight.

It's a small disaster for the hustling and bustling port of Antwerp, where several cargo activities have to be suspended for a while.

Tow boats were trying to get the cargo ship, the CSCL Jupiter, going again, but first attempts failed. A second attempt will only possible at high tide, tonight around 8.