Early in March last year, the giant container ship Maersk Honam caught fire in the Arabian Sea. Five crew members were killed, and the rest of the crew abandoned ship. (For larger versions of the photographs, follow the links provided.)
The vessel was later towed to the port of Jebel Ali, where her cargo was offloaded and the ship inspected. Her bow section had been damaged beyond repair: but the rest of the ship was still in good condition, and is almost new (delivered in 2017). Rather than lose their investment in her, Maersk decided to cut off the ship’s bow altogether, leaving the rear two-thirds of the hull and her propulsion machinery intact.
The rear portion has now been loaded onto a carrier vessel, to be returned to the South Korean shipyard where she was built. There, an entirely new bow section will be fabricated and joined to the stern, making a complete vessel once more.
It’s an expensive solution, but not as expensive as losing the whole ship – and the insurers will be paying for it all. I bet Maersk’s premiums went up, though!