Wan Hai ship runs aground in Indonesia

Wan Hai 502 has been stranded in the Java Sea since 30 August. Credit: Malte Schwarz
Wan Hai 502 has been stranded in the Java Sea since 30 August. Credit: Malte Schwarz

A container ship operated by Taiwan’s Wan Hai Lines has been stranded in the Java Sea after running aground.

It had been en route to Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, from Port Klang, Malaysia.

Wan Hai 502, a 2005-built 4,252 teu ship, is now undergoing offloading and salvage operations that could cost USD10 million. None of the crew were reported injured so far, and they remain on board to assist the salvage operation.

IHS Markit’s AIS data show that Wan Hai 502 sailed from Shekou, China, on 22 August. It called at Singapore and Port Klang and was due to arrive in Tanjung Priok port on 31 August.

However, at about 22.00 h on 30 August, Wan Hai 502 became stranded in the Java Sea.

As of 10 September, the vessel remains stranded, with Taiwanese media sources reporting that the ship appears to be “glued” to the water.

It is believed that Wan Hai 502, significantly behind schedule, ran aground after coming into contact with a coral reef while sailing at its full speed of 14.8 nautical miles per hour.

Salvage operations are currently under way for Wan Hai 502. The ship’s containers will need to be transferred to other vessels but heavy rains have hampered operations.

A Wan Hai Lines spokesman told IHS Markit, “A salvage team is now on board and the necessary equipment for refloating the vessel is being mobilised. The lightening of the vessel is expected to take several days.”

There are concerns that the longer the Wan Hai 502 remains grounded, the hull may be exposed to further damage under inclement weather, and risks of oil leaks.