Listing Cargo Ship Now Aground Off South Africa

A cargo ship that has run aground and listing
Updated Published

The Ultrabulk-managed general cargo ship, Ultra Galaxy, was abandoned by its 18-member crew on Monday after experiencing severe listing. The ship has since run aground, and efforts are currently underway to prevent a fuel and oil spill.

On Wednesday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported ongoing attempts to salvage the vessel’s cargo of fertilizer. The grounding was confirmed off the coast of Brand se Baai on the West Coast, approximately 385 kilometers north of Cape Town, occurring around 10 pm local time on Tuesday.

Preliminary reports indicate that the vessel is carrying a full load of bagged fertilizer, low-sulfur bunkering fuel, and hydraulic and related oils.

Salvage operations are in progress. A tug was dispatched on Monday and arrived at the site on Tuesday. A second tug, carrying additional personnel and equipment, departed from Cape Town on Tuesday evening to assist in the efforts. Additional measures are being implemented to contain any potential spills from the vessel’s cargo.

The vessel issued its initial distress call at 3 am local time on Monday, located about 60 nautical miles west of Doring Bay. Three nearby ships—the Fivos, the Rio Grande Express, and the fishing vessel Malachite—diverted from their routes to provide assistance.

All 18 Filipino crew members escaped the listing vessel in a life raft and were rescued by the Malachite, which then transported them to St Helena Bay.

The Ultra Galaxy, registered in Panama, is a 13,800 dwt general cargo ship measuring 124 meters in length, built in 2008. According to data from Equasis, it is owned by Fujita Shoji and managed by Denmark-based dry bulk operator Ultrabulk. At the time of the distress call, the vessel was en route to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.