Oops, T-boned - Ferry ULYSSE and Container Ship CSL VIRGINIA,

How will this one be explained?

Love to know what lights & AIS status were on.
Love to know what soccer match was on…

The crash was at 0700 local, before sunrise at 0730… when the Italian soccer league did not play…

The T-boner ferry was en route from Genova to Tunis.

The T-boned container vessel shows the AIS status as ‘For Order’ and ‘At Anchor’.

However, I would not anchor there, in 100 meters of water. It is the worst place for the often surprising westerly (Mistral) or easterly (Bora) strong winds, entering or leaving the Gulf of Genova.
In addition, it is spot on the route from NW-Italy to Tunisia and Port Said.

Maybe they were just drifting in the then weak winds.

Just now, Monday 1600 local, two emergency tugs of the French Navy are trying to disconnect the two vessels. It seems not to be easy…

I looked at Marine Traffic this morning and saw that same status, but wondered if that was the case at the time of collision. In the last week there has been a lot of wind there, mostly Tramontana, but it’s that time of year. (Bora is Adriatic, though)
Over the years, I have seen a few ships drifting in this corner of the Med, “not under command”, with destination “For Orders”.
Time and VDR will tell, I suppose.
Hell of a mess, but summer is over. Lotsa beach cleaning this winter…

Btw, soccer comment was a reference to the one that plughed through the anchorage in that area 15-20 years ago.

The horrible fire on the ferry ‘Moby Prince’, at Livorno anchorage, in 1991?

A never understood or explained accident!

All 141 persons on board the ferry perished, short of one cabin boy, who was evidently not of much help to the investigation.

The ferry, leaving Livorno to Sardinia, T-boned the tanker ‘Agip Abruzzo’ anchored at Livorno Anchorage. The fuel of the tanker’s holds spread on the ferry and made a purgatory with no issue.

For those reading Italian: Change to the more explicit Italian page.

And Yes, the Bora is an Adriatic wind. Mainly in winter, it may cross to the Ligurian sea, by the plains of the Po, and be called there a Tramontana.

However, a strong depression in the Gulf of Genova, often the ignition of a Mistral, generally moves SE into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Then, a strong southwesterly storm turns immediately to a northeasterly one, in the Ligurian sea.

Tuesday morning, october 8 at 1300 local, the situation did not change, after >48 hours.

A first attempt to extract the ferry from the container vessel was not successful.

Does anyone else find it interesting that the Container Ship did not have one container showing? I can’t think of the last time I saw a picture of a Box Ship with No Boxes on deck.

She was waiting for orders – and now for the shipyard.

Her last voyage, arriving at Genova on September 20, was around the Arabian Peninsula.
Maybe she was at the end of the precedent rotations, and waiting for new ones, or for a single job.

From this photo the stbd anchor chain can be seen, looks like it was in fact anchored.

As far as strong winds, need to keep an eye on forecasts of course but even if the ship does drag there no dangers nearby, plenty of time to respond.

There is a limit to how much chain the windlass can recover, it’s not uncommon to anchor in 100 meters but that might be over the limit of some systems.

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There are container ships in anchorages all over Europe with no cargo and waiting for a charter. It’s a sign of the times these days.


In the Mediterranean, a year ago, a lot of vessels spent her holydays at the anchorage East of Gibraltar.

Nowadays, they mostly anchor East of Malta. Indeed, there are always some vessels for bunkering, but mostly, they spend some time there.

Today, the vessels are mostly tankers, but that changes…

South of Crete (Greece), there are always some LPG vessels drifting and waiting for something. I don’t know why these special ships select this place.

Se’s Probably now headed o he scrapyard

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My guess as well. After all, she’s already 13 years old - ancient by today’s container ship standards. On the other hand, container ships have all but disappeared from recent demolition reports - a sign of market recovering?

I looked her up from Sea-web and found it curious that she has a few months older sister ship which reportedly has one more cylinder in her main engine.

Nobody looking out the window?

The container ship will almost certainly be scrapped, Panamax vessels have been scrapped at 7 years in the down turn,

Just a thought: Vessel is Tunisian registered. Crash at 7:07 am. Exactly during Moslem’s sunrise prayer time at this location, bowing and facing Mecca on the South-East while ship is heading South so no one looking forward.

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It seems clear, that on the ferry nobody looked out of the window or on the Radar screen, to miss this big vessel.

The anchor place is just outside of the Italian and French 12 NM zones. It is one of the rare spots (if not the only one) in this region, where anchoring is possible without asking for anyone’s opinion.

However, was it wise to anchor spot on the busy route from Genova to Sicily, Eastern North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean?
Just 12 NM southwards are the regulated lanes in the Corsica Channel, between Cape Corsica and the Italian island of Capraia. The preparation for the southwards lane passes over this anchor place.

The interest for the material value of the container vessel may have been low, but loss of life on both ships were unforeseeable.

I love the little sidestep mid-way to make sure they struck amidships. :wink:

From gcaptain

Watch: AIS Animation Shows Mediterranean Ship Collision

That last little turn to port can be seen easily on this scale. Seems to indicate that at some point at least the Virginia was seen. Possibly the ferry didn’t realize it was anchored.

Although he had a constant bearing for the last 80 NM. If he didn’t think he was anchored, he must have thought that was the slowest tanker on God’s blue earth.

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My italian mates said the ferry most likely avoided an unlit barge on tow with no lights on anything.
That would be the barges that go out an steal petrol from the ships for distribution in italy