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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

Over Two months After Grounding - Massive Effort To The Refloat M/V APL Panama Succeeds! This feature Current To March 20 2006


Readers Note: This Feature Has Now Moved Forward To 4 Pages:

Page 1 M/V APL Panama Goes Aground- EPIC EVENTS AT ENSENADA -- Dec. 25 2005 to Jan. 27 2006

Page 2 The Epic Battle To Refloat M/V APL Panama -- Jan. 27 to Feb. 28 2006

Page 3 - The Dredger Refloats M/V APL Panama - March 10 2006 SHE FLOATS! (see below) Current March 1 2006 to Present

Continuing Coverage On This Page -- M/V APL Panama under tow to Subic Bay June 6 2006.

Nov. 12 2006 - M/V APL Panama Is Dead

Page 4 M/V APL Panama Leaves A Great Lady Behind

Go Directly To News of The Current Day

Please Contribute

"A Day Week Month Months 2 Months At The Beach"

M/V APL Panama

On The Scene At Hussong's CY

Feature Date: January 2006


Original Event Date: Dec. 25 2005 to March 10 2006

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Countryman & McDaniel

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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

On The Scene -- at Esenada, Mexico

 A 2006 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

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"A Day Week Month 2 Months

At The Beach"

On The Scene

At Esenada Beach, Mexico

M/V APL Panama

Trouble Finding The Port

BREAKING NEWS Since Dec. 25 2005

Proving Again That: "Ship Happens©"

PAGE 2  

A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Date: Dec. 25 2005

The Place: Ensenada Beach, Mexico

The Function: Hussong's CY


"A Day Week Month Months At The Beach"

Page 1 M/V APL Panama Goes Aground- EPIC EVENTS AT ENSENADA

Page 2 The Epic Battle To Refloat M/V APL Panama

Page 3 - The Dredger Refloats M/V APL Panama - March 10 2006 SHE FLOATS! (see below) Current to April 3 2006 -- M/V APL Panama is now free.

Our Special Features

Our Valued Contributors

The Hydraulic Puller Barge of From R.E. Staite Engineering At National City, CA. ....has arrived!

Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
An armada of tugboats & the powerful Hydraulic Puller Barge worked at daybreak to free the stranded M/V APL Panama

The beach at south of the entrance to Ensenada harbor did not give up her captive.

The 6 tugs pull at their fullest power during the hours leading up to and following the high tide --

-- then reduce power to maintain their daily gains & not let M/V APL Panama be driven backwards onto the beach.

Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune

Jan. 28 - Puller Barge On Scene - Rescue Resumes

Mexico's director general for the Federal Secretary of Communication & Transport for Baja California, Hector Jose Gomez Rodriguez, walked along the deck of the powerful puller barge being used in the salvage attempt.

The effort included a special 400 ft. barge with 5 powerful Hydraulic pullers, 6 huge tugs, a month of preparation & lots of 21st Century American technology in a desprate effort --

--the result?
Photo: Anonymous
The Result of Another Attempt by All The King's Horses & All The King's Men -- Plus The Fabled 400 ft. Hydraulic Puller Barge ......

M/V APL Panama Was Pulled 20 feet toward The Sea on Jan. 27..... with more than just a few feet more to go.

Thus -- Another Day At The Beach!

Jan. 30 - Harbor Pilot Speaks Out
A port pilot spoke publicly for the first time on Jan.. 28, about the desperate last-minute efforts to keep it from running aground more than a month ago. In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune Capt. Fernando Ramírez Martínez said he and a co-pilot were leaving the port to meet the vessel about 6 p.m. Dec. 25 when they spotted the 880-foot vessel heading across the harbor's entrance channel and aiming straight for the shore.
"I saw the lights and I couldn't believe it, I just couldn't believe it. I told the tugboats, 'Leave the port, because the ship is about to run aground. I suggested to him that we get the tugboat Coral and send it a line so that it could try to keep (M/V APL Panama) at that position. The captain (of M/V APL Panama) said he didn't want to give the line, that he couldn't because that would mean it was salvage and would prompt a host of legal problems."

Close to half an hour passed before Capt. Zupan Branko of M/V APL Panama agreed to give a line so the tugboat could pull, but by then it was too late, Ramírez said.

Capt. Brank had broken an unbreakable rule which took M/V APL Panama into his own hands --

Jan. 31 - Puller Barge Failed -- Now Overshadowed By The Approach of "Big Bird"

The super pulling barge from R.E. Staite Engineering marine contractors in National City having failed to move the vessel more than 20 feet -- salvagers trying to free grounded M/V APL Panama will bring in a more powerful helicopter to unload more of the vessel's cargo in hope of finally making the veseel lighter & getting her unstuck. Nearly continuous efforts with the 6 heavy tugs & hydraulic equipment in the Puller Barge to turn her bow into the oncoming waves -- have failed.

Salvagers had been using a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter from Evergreen to lift some of the hundreds of containers off M/V APL Panama, but the chopper isn't powerful enough to pick up the heaviest of the containers in stack cells on deck, so they will bring in a more powerful copter, said Capt. Jose Luis Rios Hernandez, Ensenada's harbormaster.

Titan Maritime LLC is considering a Russian-made MIL Mi-26 helicopter, capable of lifting close to 20 tons. Titan is reported to have located one in Peru that could be prepared in 48 hours. Cargo weight is holding the vessel down and must be further reduced.

There have been fuel leaks totaling about 265 gallons. Although her bunkers have been largely drawn off, hull cracks cracks have led to leaks at low tide from fuel-contaminated ballast. Mexico's environmental watchdog agency, known as PROFEPA has sought court orders to arrest the vessel.

But as is seen below -- this is not a simple grounding. M/V APL Panama is quite high & quite dry. We expect more earth moving equipment next -- the Esenada Canal?

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Jan. 31 - Official Message From APL --

APL Panama MAX Service (Mexico Asia Express) (Updated 30 Jan 2006)

"We want to bring you up-to-date on the most recent developments concerning M/V APL Panama.

* The vessel remains aground off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico.

* A major effort was undertaken over this past weekend to refloat the ship, coinciding with high tides. These efforts were unsuccessful, despite the mobilization of a number of tugs and a special barge equipped with pulling equipment.

* The salvors are preparing to install a new system designed to push sand away from the ship.

* There was a spill of a small amount of heavy fuel oil from the ship over the weekend. Environmental contractors deployed on scene quickly responded and cleaned up the oil. No environmental damage has been reported.

* The condition of the ship is being carefully monitored by the salvage company.

* There is no sign of cargo damage aboard the vessel. Reefers are being powered by generators that have been installed on the ship. We don't yet know when cargo will be available for pickup.

APL is pushing the vessel owner and the salvors to take every effort to remove cargo from the ship, to the extent this is operationally feasible and can be done with appropriate regard to the safety of the cargo and personnel involved.

We continue to urge you to make arrangements with your cargo underwriters to post security for your cargo. Your underwriters should be working with Richards Hogg Lindley, the General Average and salvage security collection agents. Please call your APL customer service representative if you have additional questions.

Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience caused by the grounding of the APL Panama and appreciate your patience during this evolving situation. We will continue to provide updates to you as things develop."

And so it goes on the Ensenada Coast -- 36 days after the tragic decision not to board the harbor pilot . McD
Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
The Long Fabled 400 ft. Hydraulic Puller Barge & Six Major Tugs Have worked Their Hearts Out For A Month - But Failed

This is Not Just A Grounding -- This Is An "Inland Installation"

We Now Await -- "Big Bird" But Is Any Marine Help Enough? Earth Moving Equipment & The Ensenada Canal is Likely Next. What About A Land Based Crane?

Will She "Ship Or Get Off The Port©" ?


And .......Another Day At The Beach Breaks!

Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
It Is Now 3 February 2006 -- Day 41 --

M/V APL Panama was moved another 1.5 degrees toward the ocean on Jan. 31, after a morning high tide.

Feb. 2 -- Our Contributor Visits M/V APL Panama - An Eyewitness Report
Eyewitness Report To The Cargo Letter - Feb. 2 2006
"I was in Ensenada Feb. 1, observing the offloading of containers by helicopter from M/V APL Panama!! The Salvage company was averaging 4 to 5 containers taken off per hour-- just think, at that rate they will have all the deck loads off in 4 to 6 weeks!!

The best part is the circus atmosphere that surrounds the ship, with locals selling tacos, churros, and trinkets from the cordoned off viewing area.

The report of the vessel being moved some degrees toward sea are false. The ship is hard aground, almost paralell to the beach. At low tide you can walk up and touch the inshore hull without getting your feet wet!!

Watching the offloading with the helicopter was quite entertaing with guys scrambling around on top of adjacent containers without any fall arrest gear, an accident waiting to happen.

The moral of the story: We can save money to bring the cargo in through Mexico, but it might take just a LITTLE longer!!!!"

Greg Mitre - Ports of Los Angeles- Long Beach Longshoreman

Letters From Our Readers - Please Contribute

"How about using a suction dredger to the seaward side of the ship? How does this barge puller work anyhow? Keep up the great work on your Website!"
Jerome A. Morris

"Why don't the Owners try hydraulically sucking the sand out from underneath the boat? Don't move the boat, move the beach and let the water do its thing. After a few days the beach profile will regenerate after the boat is gone. I know ship is not boat, but what do you expect from somebody in the middle of Missouri."

M. Bruenger
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Feb. 3 -- Our Readers Speak Out.

"Geez! Is there a twelve step recovery program for pompous egotism? If they got that vessel any higher on the beach, you could call it a Hotel. Which might not be a bad idea considering the cost of salvage. I got it! How about a nautical theme? With a dining room with a view from the bridge. Yes! We call them boats up here in the Great Lakes too.
Dan Fix - Great Lakes

"This is just too funny for words. I'm in the Transportation Corps of the Army and my guys and I have been following this intently. Glad to see there are others out there to put little screw ups into a better perspective from my angle. Good luck with this thing. Oh, and just a though: Has anyone called the Army Corps of Engineers? Might have a few ideas.

SGT Kenton Allen, Transportation Corps. U.S. Army

From The Vessel Owners - Feb. 3.

"Efforts by the salvors over the past few days have succeeded in turning the vessel's bow approximately 30 degrees towards the sea. This was achieved using tug power and hydraulic pulling machines. Unfortunately, the salvors were not able to utilize the sand blowing pump due to the surf. The next stage of the operation will see renewed efforts to free the APL Panama, while ensuring the local environment remains undamaged by her presence."

Salvors plan to remove further containers from the vessel's stern with the help of a heavy lift helicopter. This will lighten the vessel and also improve her stability. Environmental response teams remain on 24 hour stand by, as do the tugs and pulling machines.  The vessel's owner says that it continues "to work in close cooperation with the Mexican authorities in order to remove the vessel in a safe and manageable manner from the beach".

Mare Britannicum' Schiffahrtsgesellschaft - Feb. 3.

Feb. 6 -- Our Readers Speak Out.

"This is a WONDERFUL series! I got more information from this site than any other news source. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

"Why don't they dig from under the rudder, tie the tugs aft , then pull her out to deeper water? Not sure if it would work,but everything else seems to be failing.

If the rudder has power, they can set it for amidships and drag away!

If they use my idea, I want the salvage least some of it......"

Kenneth Cotton
(Hi Ken -- the vessel is Registered Deadweight 52,272 tons, plus cargo -- they're trying, but we don't know about a stern pull)

"Just a note to advise you that this area is not a deserted spot on the Mexican coast. This is a fully equipped container and cruise ship harbor as well as being home to a number of commercial fishing vessels. Ensenada itself is a city of 400,000 people with all the usual amenities. I've lived here 3.5 years and I now have my own home close to the bay from which I can see M/V APL Panama. We have our own Costco, Smart and Final, Office Depot with a Home Depot and Walmart under construction for opening this year. No more of the funky little fishing village stuff please. It is connected to the border at San Ysidro by a paved toll road which has a beautiful view of the coast & surf for nearly all of its 65 miles.

Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your comments."

George J. Brown
(Hi George -- We've been visiting Esenada for many years and do understand your comments. It's just down the block from our LAX. Our point was that any point outside the port -- on open beach -- is isolated on a number of levels. Sounds like you bought at the right time -- although we still love that funky little fishing village of 40 years ago!" McD)
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Photo: Anonymous
Goodwin Pumps technician fuses sections of 24-inch pipe into a 1,800-foot length being pulled out to the 400ft. barge.

The pipe is connected to 4 high-volume pumps & used to scour sand accumulated against the hull. Attempts have been made from several angles.

The Godwin Pumps are getting a heavy workout.

Feb. 7 - Official Message From APL --
APL Panama MAX Service (Mexico Asia Express) (Updated 7 Feb. 2006)
"As has been our regular practice, we want to update you on recovery efforts for the APL Panama:

* The vessel remains grounded off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico.

* Containers are again being removed from the deck by helicopter to lighten the ship's load.

* Plans are being made to discharge additional containers by crane.

* We will notify customers as containers become available for pick-up. Containers are being discharged exclusively to assist in recovery efforts; therefore we can't identify in advance which will be available for pick-up.

* There is no sign of cargo damage aboard the vessel, and reefers continue to be powered by generator.

* Preparations are being made to remove a sand build-up from the starboard side of the ship that has inhibited recovery.

* Additional attempts to refloat the vessel will be made during the month of February."

Does there seem to be a lack of optimism by use of the phrase ............... "attempts to refloat the vessel will be made during the month of February." .......

..... as if they're not sure this incident will end in February? McD

Letters From Our Readers - Curse of The Panama?

"In 1970 I was sitting at my desk near Berth J (now a numbered berth) at the Port of Oakland's Public Container Terminal when M/V Sealand Panama running at speed in the fog to make the 0900 stevedore gangs, ran perpendicularly to -- and into the second crane rail of the berth under construction. It took several weeks of tugs pulling, caterpillars pushing and cutting torches separating ship's structure from pier rebar to float her free.

The moral to my story is to avoid the use of "Panama" in a ship's name as it may cause 'lightning' to strike the same place (ship casualties) again.

Readers may know of other vesssel's named "Panama" that have participated in other casualties, but I've seen enough of them!"

Pete Gomes

Feb. 9 - "Big Bird" To Arrive? We Wil See, But Doubt it.

As giant Sikorski Skycrane helicopter strain to lift the containers - still piled 5 & 6 high -- a Russian-made Mi-26 Halo helicopter capable of lifting close to 20 tons is arriving soon from Peru to further assist the removal of containers >> according to a report from "The Log" newspaper, in a report based on info from MTI Network. We speculated about this earlier, but there is no other confirmation -- more likely & practical that a land structure will be constructed as a base for a crane. As of February 3, it is reported that130 containers had been removed & transported by the Sikorski to the port customs area.

Meanwhile, reports continue to be received here at The Cargo Letter that APL Lines has extended an uncommon level of courtesy & cooperation to the cargo interests in dealing with this unfortunate situation. Cargo owners tell us that APL has gone well beyond what might be expected to assist in obtaining their cargo .... to the extent possible under current circumstances. Kudos to APL! BRAVO ZULU! McD

Letters From Our Readers -

"First of all I'd like to thank you for your great website and the continuing updates for the M/V APL Panama "debacle".

Now, I'm everything but a salvage expert but I DO live in The Netherlands and we have the worlds best salvage companies (Smit Tak, Wijsmuller) so maybe it's a sort of second nature to think creatively about this salvage and I came up with this idea: Why don't they drill large tubes up to a few feet under the ship, put water through it under high pressure in order to "liquify" the beach under the ship and then start pulling?

Cheers and keep up the good work!"
Marc Onrust, The Netherlands

"Last Sunday (Feb. 5 2006) we had a look at M/V APL Panama grounded near Ensenada. It is just unbelievable that this could have happened. I read the testimony of the First Officer and the Captain... If it happened like that, than well it becomes clear that they do not have the skills nor the level of responsibility required to handle a ship like that. Since when is a First Officer not able to handle a ship on his own? He should have taken measures to prevent this mishap in the first place.

By the way it does not look like this ship will be moving very soon, the sand will suck it in. Also the removal of the containers by helicopter seems very dangerous because it passes over land with a container waving underneath."

H. Groenewege

>> As it turns out, the 1st Officer is well qualified by experience & license to command the bridge of this vessel. But this fact only supports your 2nd point -- of why the 1st Officer did not take action under these extraordinary circumstances. Thanks for your support for our effort. McD

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Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
 The Mountain Comes To Mohammed -- A 1 x 40' Hoist
Titan Maritime commissioned this new 500-foot rock & sand ramp for a crane to carry containers ashore. Baja California construction company Amaya Curiel y Cia S.A. de C.V. built the jetty. Currently moving up to 60 containers per day. About 1,500 containers remained aboard as of Feb. 8. As previously reported here, many of the containers exceeded the lift capacity of the Sikorsky Sky Crane helicopter which brought the first 130 containers off the veseel. Titan Maritime executives are quoted to say they are also hoping to bring in the more powerful helicopter, a Russian-made Mil-25 to lift the heavy containers -- but "Big Bird" has yet to appear.
As we predicted - A land based crane trumps the concept of a "Big Bird" - given the extent of grounding. But we still scan the skies for the giant to arrive.
To The left of frame -- a truck & chassis await download of the next continer - currently on the hook. The 300-ton crawler crane, with a 250-foot boom, has been working around the clock since Feb. 5, and moving up to 60 containers per day.

Feb. 10 - The Jetty & "Our Man In Ensenada"

"Not much change on Feb. 9. We had a high tide Feb. 8 morning early and the tugs & barge were all lighted up, apparently trying again. A road built out close to the ship has a crane and is unloading as well -- from the new jetty. I don't understand why they didn't start to unload everything as soon as they could and worry about towing it after it was as light as they could get it. It really is high up on the beach and according to a boat captain who shuttles pleasure craft up & down the coast -- he was here the night before the ship beached and said there was a significant surge. It would have taken that to move her so high and it will probably take another surge to get her off. The ships have a lot of water ballast too."
Ensenada George - From our Correspondent in Ensenada. (Thurs. Feb. 9 2006)

Feb. 11 - Dark Rumors --will M/V APL Panama leave this beach?

There are criticisms that Titan Maritime of Florida, may not have have understood either the nature of Pacific beach sands or the Westerly swell facing M/V APL Panama from the very begining-- which may have actually worsened the situation for M/V APL Panama in her current trap. Indeed, some experts tell us the vessel is deeper in the sand now, than at the begining -- due to salvor delay of a month before major dredging operations.

General Average security now requires that cargo owners post 75% of cargo value -- for release of their goods. This does not suggest confidence in resolution.

We believe that M/V APL Panama will be free in time -- but a trusted maritme expert told us today of his opinion that M/V APL Panama might not leave the Ensenada Beach in her current configuration as M/V APL Panama. He fears the vessel cannot be refloated as is.

One thing is certain -- from now on -- this operation has become deadly -- for M/V APL Panama.

Feb. 17 - Our Site Off Line!

With great apology to our readers, we've been gone for a few days. On Sun. Feb. 12, our entire system melted down, taking with it even our backup computer in a secondary location. There has been no ability to reach the system software until today. - no data was lost. Keep visiting! McD
Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
55 Gallon drums of diesel hoist aboard to run M/V APL Panama generators --

-- perhaps also the pizza --

-- during her continuing castaway.

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Feb. 17 - "Our Man In Ensenada"

"The tugs have tried again, we had some 6' high tides. M/V APL Panama has been moved some, it is closer to 45 degrees now from the shoreline but no closer to coming off the beach. This afternoon from my vantage point I could not see the barge with the pulling gear, that has either been moved off to one side where I can't see it or gone. APL has updates on its website but has nothing new since Feb 9th. The container stack is still pretty high and no sign of any helicopters at all.
Ensenada George - From our Correspondent in Ensenada. (Tues. Feb. 14 2006)

Feb. 17 - Letters From Our Readers -

"My comments will be brief & directly to the point. If the containers are removed & the vessel is to be freed from the sand, 2 things must happen.
1. As the containers are lifted off, M/V APL Panama must be kept heavy on the sand or sand will fill in beneath the ship and all the removal of weight will be for nothing. The ship will only be sitting higher on elevated sand.

2. A channel will need to be cut at either end of M/V APL Panama, depending on which end is to be pulled out first. This might be accomplished by setting up a large tug at the end to be freed and using the props to wash a channel by swinging the tug side to side and slowly moving away from the ship. This tug must be tethered to an anchor offshore or held by another tub to allow sand to be blown away from the vessel.

"My background is as a Commercial Diver working 9 years overseas. Good luck, I believe this ship deserves all the luck she can muster up."

Jesse L. Dean

"I live in ensenada & work about a block from the beach 3/4 mi. N. of M/V APL Panama, so I can look at it pretty easily. As of noon today the famous Puller Barge was nowhere in sight, with 3 Crowley tugs hooked up.

They've pulled the prow out about 45 degrees or a little less, but the bulb is still out of the water at high tide. Granted, we don't get a very high tide till about the 25th, but still!!!"

Don Fagan- Ensenada

"On Feb. 16 we drove down to take a look at this tourist attraction, and saw that real progress has been made in off-laoding containers. It seems as though the crane on the new jetty has lifted another crane onto the forward deck, about midships. We live at Punta Banda, and can daily observe the goings-on with binoculars. Quite a show! But seaward progress of the bow looks as though they are at a stalemate."

Papabaja - Punta Banda

"M/V APL Panama hit perpendicular to the beach & at high speed, causing the bow to penetrate deeply into the sand. When the wind & sea action caused the ship to turn the port side parrallel to the beach, it created a hugh mound of sand between the starboard bow and deep water to the extent the bow of the ship had penetrated into the sand.

The ship should have been pulled out stern first, attempting to get the ship as near as possible to the atitude it was in when she went aground. Once the stern was in deep enough water, the power of the ships engine & rudder could be added to that of the tugs and salvage gear."

Captain Anonymous

"Horay-Horay-Horay for Capt. Anonymous. I have been in the towing and ship-handling business for almost 43 years and my tow-line would have gone on the stern of M/V Panama as the first act. With the ship running at full power astern --- just maybe? And then, " what joy ". "

Capt. Anonymous Ahab - Feb. 22
There are many insightful comments today -- as we await the Feb. 25 High Tide. But what then? McD
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Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
Skycrane Surveys For Roads To New "APL Panama Marriott Hotel & Spa"

Please Contribute

Feb. 18 - New Description of The Event & Reader News
"So far, 327 containers have been removed, with a combined weight of 3,206 tons. Environmental response teams remain on 24-hour standby to ensure that no damage is caused to the local environment. The vessel owners continue to work in close cooperation with the Mexican authorities in order to remove the vessel in a safe & manageable manner from the beach." Lloyd's Feb. 18

M/V APL Panama is currently the world's most visible marine casualty, as she lies on her bottom very close to the shore of Ensenda in Mexico. It all started on Dec 25 and the chronology which is currently circulating London, goes something like this....

1. The Master approached the pilot boarding area at 14.5 knots, when vessels are normally supposed to "drift" in the pilot boarding area until the pilot boards the vessel.

2. When the Master realized that the pilot was not going to be able to board, he steered the vessel hard to starboard, hoping to swing the vessel around to make another pass to pick up the pilot in the boarding area.

3. The pictures do not show it very well but there is a sandbar protruding from the beach right under the middle of the vessel.

4. The vessel grounded several hundred feet off the beach, but the tide and high westerly swells have moved M/V APL Panama further aground.

5. Immediately after grounding, the Master tried to lighten the vessel by discharging ballast water, in hopes of freeing the vessel. Now there remains no ballast on board, so the center of gravity on the vessel is rather high. With all the ballast off the vessel, the vessel is hogging.

Readers will recall that our description of the event from the start, in Dec. 2005, is somewhat different.

From The Readers - Feb. 18

"But I was thinking that since APL has already wasted so much money on Crowley, why not just spend a teensy bit more and call in Smit. Wouldn't it be wonderfull to see at least 5 Smitwijs tugs all in the one place at full power. Roughly 118,000 horsepower for a start."
M.R.J. - South Australia

Float Her With Global Warming!

"According to what I saw on a program dealing with global warming -- melting of the Greenland ice cap would raise mean sea level by 21 feet... more than enough to refloat M/V APL Panama. Why wait? Put people to work figuring out how to have it melt all at once. If something's worth doing, isn't "the hard way" always one of the options available? By what you've reported already, it looks like there's no need to refloat the vessel anyway. Simply build a new container terminal around it. Your photos clearly indicate there's already truck access to the site, rail could be next. BTW, does this incident mean that M/V APL Panama stands a chance of getting into the record books as the worlds largest landing craft?"

Tassie Tiger

Feb. 23 -Forget Big Bird -- The Dredger Is Finally, Finally Coming -- As So Many of You Professionals Have Suggested For Many Days

"It seams that the only way of floating her is to bring in a hydraulic dredge and dig a pond for her to float. Previous comments to use the wash of a tug to dig a channel will only push the sand to a location that would be unacceptable. This continuing pulling of the bow will eventually damage the vessel beyond repair, if it has not already happened. If this vessel is floated, it will need to be dry docked to stay in ABS class. Anyone figure where that will occur? The only facility to do that would be NASCO in San Diego, Canada or the Far East. This says something for the "repair facilities" on the U.S. West Coast."
Jack Wall - Los Angeles

"From all the reports on this site I understand the vessel is beached on sand. If so, where then is one of those huge Dutch dregders for removal of the necessary sand around and under the vessel? Even with high pressure and volume of water the sand could be liquified and be washed out. Envirnomentally this may casue a shock, but it can be reinstated as soon as the vessel has been pulled off.

Just pulling is not going to help you, she will just sink deeper. (ever tried to walk on liquified sands? You may drown in it!). Taking off the empties (non-loaded containers) is a waste of time. So far the average weight is just 10 tons, indicating there is not much cargo being offloaded effectively. Time is something you do not have in cases like this."

Anonymuous -- Astouned Reader

So You Asked For A Dredger -- So Here She Comes! Was This Move Late? News From our Correspondents

"According to the "El Vigia" newspaper of Ensenada, the dredger M/V Francisco de Giorgio has been contracted to dredge a 300-400 meter channel to try and free the vessel. This work is supposed to start Feb. 24 (just before the Feb. 25 high tide). Otherwise, from my vantage point in Punta Banda it is hard to estimate the angle of the ship, but looks to be about 90 degrees to the beach now. Only 3 tugs pulling now, and no barge in sight!
Papabaja - From our Correspondent in Punta Banda. (Wed.. Feb. 22 2006)

"There are now 3 cranes working on the beach offloading containers and have removed about 2/3 of what was on deck. Can't tell if they are removing containers from the hold, but the remaining containers on deck are all forward where the prow is buried. As the containers are off-loaded onto flat bed trailers they are taken directly to the port Customs area with a police escort, cop cars fore and aft, port and starboard. Quite the show!

Several large employers in Mexico have had to modify or stop production because the material they need for production is sitting on the beach in Ensenada. They include Nissan, Ford, Sears, Truper, Sanyo, and who knows who else. The litigation from this alone will last till the end of time! If an employer in Mexico doesn't have work for his employees he must still pay them, and you don't alter production scheduling without causing lasting screwups all down the line."

Don Fagan - From our Correspondent in Ensenada. (Wed.. Feb. 22 2006)

Feb. 24 - For Tomorrow, We Have Some New & Exclusive Photos For You. But Get Those Cameras Ready For M/V Francisco de Giorgio !

Photo - Phil Walcher
In Desperation -- wheels are added to one of the rare 2ft. containers during offoading.
Feb. 24 - These are exclusive photos from Phil Walcher, Engineer on Crowley tug M/V Saturn at San Diego.
Photo - Phil Walcher
Before The Two Additional Land Cranes Arrived -- This Feb. 12 Photo Shows The Operation. Historic.

Photo - Phil Walcher
A Lonely Pull. Tugs On The Horizon -- Pulling -- Pulling.

As Shown in this Phil Walcher photo - day after day -- this activity has continued -- to no avail.

We await the dredge M/V Francisco de Giorgio. Tomorrow?


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Feb. 25 - More Progress -- No Dredger - Yet -- No Progres --Some Say NO HOPE
Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
The 3 Shore Cranes Are working on Feb. 23 2006 -- But M/V APL Panama Is Unmoved.
Feb. 25 - More Progress? -- No Dredger - Yet -- No Progres --Some Say NO HOPE
From The Readers - Feb. 25
"M/V Sea Cloud left Baja and arrived yesterday in San Diego with the now famous "411ft. Barge" (puller barge).

The "411ft. Barge" is at at R.E. Staite (the barge) and is either being unloaded or refitted. I talked to the crew of M/V Sea Cloud and they seem to know less about what's happening than anyone. They are presently fueling & having repairs done in San Diego at 10th Ave. Terminal. I have been told that they are going to pull on the M/V Panama again in March and that they have more containers off than ever."

Phil Walcher, Engineer on Crowley tug M/V Saturn at San Diego.
Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
Neptune Orient Container Is Discharged Over Two Months Late --

-- how many factory workers lost their jobs for want of this material?

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Photo: by John Gibbins San Diego Union-Tribune
M/V APL Panama on Feb. 23 2006 -- not just aground -- but IN GROUND.

Difficult to imagine a more serious situation.

Three giant cranes, one perched on the jetty's end & 2 smaller tractor cranes, assisted the removal of containers from amidships & astern. Four tugs are continuing their efforts. What's worrisome is the ship's propeller still lies many feet below the surface, buried in surf & sand.

Feb. 26 - The Feb. 25, High Tide Is Here -- So What!

For a month now we have been told of the hight tide which now hit 6.17 feet at 6:19am Feb. 25, and will go to 6.49 feet at 7:16am today. As you will read below -- not enough.

Now salvage crews are preparing a new tactic of creating a channel alongside the stranded ship with a specialized dredger vessel, the Belgian owned Francesco di Giorgio.T With the Francesco di Giorgio's arrival expected Feb. 26, salvage crews are hoping to write the final chapter of the long-running saga. Now salvage crews are preparing a new tactic: creating a channel alongside the stranded ship with a specialized dredger vessel, the Francesco di Giorgio. The latest sand-removal plans involve the dredger vessel, which is 313 feet long & designed to operate in shallow water. Named for the 15th century Italian artist Francesco di Giorgio, it has been sailing from the Nicaraguan port of Corinth, where it was doing maintenance work on a navigational channel.

Crews are hoping to remove 1,200 of the 1,800 containers originally on board. We'll see.


From The Readers - Feb. 26

"Many years ago when I lived in ND the power company that was installing R.E.A. electric service to farms had the job of setting poles during a very wet summer. On my fathers farm they had to set a pole in about 4 feet of water. There was no way that they could dig a hole so what they did is attach an explosive charge to the pole. Raised the pole to a straight position, set the charge off and the pole dropped about 6 feet. They carried stone in to hold the pole. What I am getting at here is why would it not work to set charges the full length of the ship and also make a channel out to deep water. Set the charges off to blow the sand away from the ship and pull it out to deep water with a couple big tugs."
Al - Wisconsin

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Photo- Leslie Marchetti
Our Leslie Marchetti views the result of 621 containers off loaded so far.
Feb. 26 - Exclusive photo from Leslie Marchetti, Marchetti Fine Arts at San Diego.
The Cargo Letter For Feb. 25, 2006
"APL said Feb. 22 that 621 containers have been removed from the 4,038-TEU M/V APL Panama, which remains grounded near the approach of the Mexican port of Ensenada, 2 months after it ran aground Dec. 25. The Singaporean carrier said there appears to be no cargo damageand that reefer containers continue to be powered by a generator. "The salvors intend to remove most of the containers from the ship, however this may be subject to operational limitations. We will continue to notify customers as containers become available for pickup. Containers are being discharged exclusively to assist in recovery efforts; therefore we can't identify in advance which will be available for pickup," APL said. "We continue to urge you to make arrangements with your cargo underwriters to post security for your cargo. This is particularly important if you have been advised your cargo has been discharged from the ship. Secure storage space for containers ashore is limited, and we cannot deliver or on-carry your cargo unless security has been posted." APL also said that preparations are being made to remove a sand buildup from the starboard side of the ship that has hampered previous recovery attempts. Additional attempts to refloat the vessel will be made near the end of Feb."

News From our Correspondents

"As you know they are still unloading & planning on dredging. etc. Although no expert on this subject, I find some simularities to the grounding of the famous battleship USS Missouri in Jan 1950, as she was proceeding to sea on a training cruise from the Naval Operating Base, Norfolk. Here is the official U.S. Navy report.

In study of the report, the figure I was most interested in was the "Salvage Plan" & the "Coefficient of Friction" (Section "D" of report) between the ship and the beach in this kind of situation. USS Missouri was aground on a shoal in Hampton Roads and they estimated 0.5 factor for the final pull. They also used 0.3 factor in an earlier review. In their case only 12,000 tons was actually on the bottom because there was some water supplying buoyancy. In our case the ground load is much greater, more like 20,000 to 30,000 tons. This means the needed pull at 0.3 factor is a minimum of 6,000 tons. The largest tug they could manage had a pull of 600 tons. It is clear that brute forcing this thing off the beach is not likely. They removed the sand on either side without much success also."

Ensenada George - From our Correspondent in Ensenada. (Sat. Feb. 25 2006)

Feb. 28 -- A New Plan

"Now salvage crews for the containership APL Panama are preparing a new tactic: creating a channel alongside the stranded ship with a specialized dredger vessel, M/V Francesco di Giorgio. The channel would be as close as possible to the container ship in order to tow it via the canal to deeper waters, the San Diego Union Tribune reported. With M/V Francesco di Giorgio 's arrival expected on February 27, salvage crews are hoping to write the final chapter of the long-running saga that began when M/V APL Panama ran aground in shallow waters 112 miles from Ensenada's port. Repeated attempts to move the ship off the beach with tugboats and a barge equipped with powerful hydraulic pullers have failed. The bow has been moved 50 degrees toward open water, but not far enough to float the ship. The ship's position, parallel to shore, has made for an especially challenging scenario and the vessel is now hemmed in by sand piled as high as 16 feet on its starboard side. An attempt last month to blow away the sand with a giant underwater pipe failed when the pipe broke in the surf. Earlier this month, salvage teams tried a different tack, drilling 200 small holes near the bow into the hull's starboard side, and blowing high-pressure air through them to disperse the sand. The latest sand-removal plans involve the dredger vessel, which is 313 feet long and is designed to operate in shallow water. (Source: San Diego Union Tribune)

Named for the 15th century Italian artist Francesco di Giorgio, M/V Francesco di Giorgio has been sailing from the Nicaraguan port of Corinth, where it was doing maintenance work on a navigational channel.Top of Page

Page 1


"Ship Happens! ©"

This Epic Will Continue - Stay Tuned For Daily News - Indeed, Get Comfortable.

Special Thanks To Our Contributors For Their Contnuing Efforts For You.

Again -- with thanks to the San Diego Union-Tribune



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M/V APL Panama Salvage Cost Calculator:
After consulting with industry experts, we have put together a rought estimate of what this salvage effort is likely to cost -- allowing for delay expense, salvage operators, equipment rental, lost cargo bookings, lost revenue, security, vessel rotation disruption, cargo claims, environmental claims, lawsuits, legal expense, environmental clean up expense, increased insurance premiums, fines, penalties, lost manufacturing time, product delivery delays, bribes and crane expense for pizza delivery up to the crew -- the daily cost is roughly as follows ..........

This Is Only A Graphic Calculation Display of The Money Hemorrhage Being Suffered By the Company.

It Will Take Years To Measue The Exact Toll - But It is Massive.

The Concept Is That A Lot of Money Is Going Into An Historic Black Hole & It's Not Slowing down Any Time Soon!

"Ship Happens! ©"

28 Feb. -- Day 66 -- McD

 Plans Should Continue To Go Forward For The "APL Panama - Marriott Hotel & Casino"!

Are You Watching OUr "SINGLES ONLY" Feature of Cargo Disaster? You Should

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"A Day Week Month Months At The Beach"

Page 1 - M/V APL Panama Goes Aground- EPIC EVENTS AT ENSENADA -- Dec. 25 2005 to Jan. 27 2006
Just Below - Our Special Features & Conributors

Page 2 - The Epic Battle To Refloat M/V APL Panama -- Jan. 27 2006 to Feb. 28 2006

Page 3 - The Dredger Refloats M/V APL Panama - Current fom March 1 2006 to Present -- When Will Mexico Let Het Go? Christmas to Easter to Memorial Day!

Continuing Coverage On This Page -- M/V APL Panama finally at sea again on April 20 2006!

Nov. 12 2006 - M/V APL Panama Is Dead

Page 4 M/V APL Panama Leaves A Great Lady Behind

Our Special Features

Our Valued Contributors

Our LAX Videdo - Home Theme!

Are You Watching OUr "SINGLES ONLY" Feature of Cargo Disaster? You Should

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NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss. Please Contribute.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD

* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  Please Contribute

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