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Press Release | June 5, 2024

Coast Guard, partner agencies respond to container ship incident in Charleston

PADET Jacksonville - Office: 904-714-7606 / After Hours: 786-393-4138

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Coast Guard and numerous state and local agencies responded to an incident, Wednesday, involving a container ship on the Cooper River in Charleston.  

Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center watchstanders received a report at 12:17 p.m. from the Charleston Harbor Pilots dispatch of a container ship, the MSC Michigan VII, experiencing a malfunction with the systems controlling their propulsion on the Cooper River while outbound from the North Charleston Container Terminal.  

As a precaution, local law enforcement closed vehicle traffic to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and Fort Moultrie Beach was evacuated. The bridge reopened once the vessel safely passed underneath.  

Coast Guard response boats and other government agency partners launched numerous assets on the water and the shore to assist with alerting the public and clearing vessel traffic in the ship channel.  

The vessel transited out of the Charleston Harbor and is currently anchored 8.5 miles offshore. The vessel has been issued a Captain of the Port order to remain anchored until further notice.  

“I would like to thank our South Carolina state and local Charleston partners for their prompt response and assistance in clearing vessel traffic in the ship channel and halting vehicle traffic on the Ravenel Bridge,” said Cmdr. Randy Preston, Coast Guard Sector Charleston deputy commander. “I also want to recognize the Charleston Harbor Pilots for their exceptional coordination and the pilot's efforts in recognizing the adverse situation and steering the ship through the harbor to open water without major incident. This was truly a team effort.”

Sector Charleston watchstanders received reports of damage along the vessel’s route believed to be caused by its wake. Vessel and facility inspectors are currently conducting damage assessments throughout the port. 

Two recreational boaters were reportedly injured and were assisted by local EMS personnel before being transported to a nearby hospital. 

Federal aids to navigation in the area are being assessed to ensure there are no discrepancies as a result of this incident, and the incident is under investigation.

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