Sunday, March 12, 2006
A container ship stuck in the sand since last Christmas Day is finally free. The APL Panama, stripped of the containers that had been stacked above deck, floated away from the beach at 4:41 a.m. Friday. Tugboats pulled the 874-foot vessel free from the sand after a channel had been dredged close to the ship.
The cargo ship APL Panama floated yesterday after being freed from sand near the port of Ensenada, where the 874-foot vessel with 1,800 containers from Asia ran aground on Christmas Day. Mexico won't allow the vessel to leave until the beach where it was stranded is restored.After the vessel was freed, the APL Panama was about two miles offshore in rough seas, held in place by tugboats at her bow and stern. Mexican Navy vessels and helicopters remained nearby, as did a containment vessel to pick up any possible oil spills. “It's being taken to a safe anchorage for inspection,” APL spokesman Mike Zampa said from the company's regional headquarters in Oakland. “There's no apparent damage to the cargo, no leaks or spills. There's an environmental team on standby to make sure we don't have any problems.” The dredger Francesco di Giorgio had to be brought up from Nicaragua to dig a channel near the APL Panama after repeated attempts to pull her free with tugboats and other equipment failed.