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Maersk container ship runs aground off German island

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By Reuters

By Zuzanna Szymanska and Miranda Murray

BERLIN – One of the world’s biggest container ships, the Mumbai Maersk, has run aground off the German island of Wangerooge in the North Sea, Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies and Maersk said on Thursday.

No injuries were reported among the 30 people on board, no fuel leak sighted and the entrance to the port is not obstructed, they said in a statement.

Maritime transport accounts for 80%-90% of all global trade and Mumbai Maersk belongs to a class of very large ships that can carry over 18,000 twenty-foot (33 cbm) equivalent containers holding furniture, vehicles, textiles and other export goods.

A first attempt to tow the 400-metre ship into deeper water on Thursday morning by two multi-purpose vessels and five tugs failed. The rescue company will deploy a number of additional tugs and make a second attempt around midnight, a spokesperson for the maritime emergency command said.

“They decided not to start an attempt with the afternoon tide because there is not enough water. They will now concentrate on the night tide to start the hopefully successful attempt,” the spokesperson said.

Both Maersk and the emergency command said there was no sign of pollution.

The Denmark-flagged ship was on its way from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to the north-western German port city of Bremerhaven when it ran aground on late Wednesday evening, according to a statement from the maritime emergency command.

Authorities in Wilhelmshaven and Oldenburg said an investigation into the cause of the incident was ongoing.