Mumbai Maersk: Large container ship freed after running aground off German island

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By AP  with Euronews
The 'Mumbai Maersk' was surrounded by tugs in the North Sea near the island of Wangerooge.
The 'Mumbai Maersk' was surrounded by tugs in the North Sea near the island of Wangerooge.   -   Copyright  Sina Schuldt/dpa via AP

An enormous container ship that ran aground off a German island has now been freed, authorities said on Friday.

The 400-metre Mumbai Maersk vessel became stranded on a "shallow patch" in the North Sea on Wednesday night. A first attempt to move the ship into deeper water had failed.

The vessel was eventually towed free overnight on Thursday during high tide.

Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said eight tugs and ships were involved in the successful second attempt.

The Maersk shipping company had earlier said that "all 30 crew members are safe, there is no pollution and no sign of hull breach".

The shipping company added that the stranded ship had not been obstructing the major German port of Bremerhaven.

The ship had been en route from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Bremerhaven when it ran aground, six kilometres north of the island of Wangerooge.

An investigation has been launched into how the ship became stuck, and the vessel has now been taken to Bremerhaven.

The Danish-flagged Mumbai Maersk belongs to a small group of very large ships that can carry over 18,000 containers.