South Korean container ship arrives in Victoria for emergency repairs

The SM Busan, a South Korean-flagged vessel, docked at Victoria’s Ogden Point on Sunday morning to undergo emergency repairs.

The ship was on its way from Portland to South Korea but got stranded in the Pacific Ocean on Christmas Eve, drifting for two days before slowly making its way to Victoria.

According to SM Busan’s agent, the ship entered Victoria waters on Saturday night and anchored at Constance Bank after it was escorted by tug boat. The plan was to bring the large ship straight to Ogden Point, but the agent said high winds prevented that from happening until Sunday morning. High winds have also resulted in BC Ferries cancelling several sailings. The South Island gets most of its supplies from the mainland but a storm will not have much of an impact as warehouses carry lots of food.

Oil is expected to be drained from the ship Monday before repair work can begin on the engine, according to the agent, who also said cleaning of the inside of the ship’s tank will occur over the next couple of days as well. Most likely other damage will be fixed so that the ship can make it to Korea for more work as necessary.

SM Busan’s agent also said the vast majority of the containers on the ship are empty. It seems that smaller ships are able to handle empty containers to take them to Asian ports where they are in short supply. Most likely Asian ports are paying a heft bounty for ships that arrive with empty containers.

The port authority figures the SM Busan will be docked for a month as repairs are completed. SM Busan is also the first vessel to use the Ogden Point Pier B mooring dolphin extension, which was completed in early 2020, the harbour authority said.

The 304-metre long cargo ship was built in 2007 by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The ship is owned by Hanjin Shipping – Seoul, South Korea. The vessel has previously operated under the name Hanjin Tianjin.