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Stranded South Korean container ship could be at Ogden Point for a month

The 304-metre-long, 40-metre-wide SM Busan has been docked at Ogden Point since the weekend after encountering mechanical problems in the Pacific Ocean.

Crews aboard a South Korean container ship started draining oil from the massive vessel on Monday so crucial mechanical repairs can get underway, said a spokesman for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.

The 304-metre-long, 40-metre-wide SM Busan, stacked high with shipping containers, has been docked at Ogden Point since Sunday after encountering mechanical problems in the Pacific Ocean.

Most of the ship’s containers are empty, as the ship was heading back to South Korea, according to SM Busan’s agent.

The SM Busan has a carrying capacity of 6,662 TEU, an acronym for Twenty-Foot Equivalent, the standard measurement used for 20-foot steel cargo containers. The ship’s average draught is 11.4 metres.

While travelling from Portland, Oregon to South Korea, the SM Busan lost full power on Christmas Eve and had been drifting for two days before tug boats escorted the vessel to Constance Bank and then Ogden Point after high winds died down.

The SM Busan is tied to Ogden Point’s Pier B mooring dolphin extension — the first vessel to use the new infrastructure originally installed in 2020 for cruise ships.

Semi-truck oil tankers were on the pier alongside the ship to take on the offloaded oil and other fuels.

The harbour authority said the ship’s crews were doing the emergency repair work and safety and environmental protocols were being followed while the fuels were offloaded.

The ship could be in port for up to a month, said the harbour authority.

It isn’t immediately known how many crew members are on board.

The SM Busan, built in 2007 and sailing under the flag of South Korea, left Long Beach, California, on Dec. 14, according to vesseltracker.com website, then travelled to Portland. It had encountered fuel problems and was not running optimally or able to run at full speed.

Transport Canada requires vessels experiencing troubles to be escorted by a tug to ensure safe arrival.

The container ship slowly headed toward Victoria, travelling at about 3.9 knots, on Saturday evening.

It was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries Ltd. and the owner is listed as Hanjin Shipping, South Korea, according to Baltic Shipping.

dkloster@timescolonist.com