Although the city anxiously awaits its next cruise, Victoria never fails to prove a desirable destination for those at the mercy of the sea. The SM Busan, a 304-metre South Korean container ship, will be docked at Ogden Point for a month awaiting engine repairs.
The vessel had departed from Portland, Ore. homeward bound on Dec. 24, carrying approximately 1,500 cargo containers, most of which were empty. Engine malfunctions on Christmas Eve left it and its crew stranded in the Pacific Ocean for two days before making a slow, steam-powered emergency sailing to Victoria, where it arrived at 5 a.m. the morning of Jan. 2.
The ship will likely remain for a month while a ship maintenance company is contracted and repairs are made for the over 8,000-kilometre Pacific voyage, said Greater Victoria Harbour Authority communications director Brian Cant.
The Busan is owned by South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping and had sailed as the company’s namesake, the Hanjin Tianjin, when first built by Hyundai 2007.
The over 74,000-tonne vessel is also the largest to moor in Victoria in the three years since the onset of the pandemic and cruise travel restrictions. “Container vessels aren’t here often,” Cant said. “Until 2019, 98 per cent of the ships we had were cruise ships.”
Despite its daunting size, the Busan’s mooring at Victoria hasn’t created much logistical headache for the local harbour authority, Cant said. Victoria’s cruise infrastructure is equipped for a greater number of passengers than there is crew aboard the shipping vessel.
Instead, the incident allowed the opportunity for the first use of the harbour authority’s “mooring dolphin” port extension, Cant said. The 58-metre extension of Pier B was completed in 2020 with matched funds from the federal government.
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