The quick thinking of local mariners helped prevent two container ships from colliding in Hamilton Harbour.

The Bermuda Islander suffered a power blackout when she left the docks on Friday morning and began to slowly drift towards the Somers Isles, which was in port (see photo).

But thanks to the actions of Branch Pilot Chad Townsell on board the Islander, as well the crews from a nearby ferry and the line boat, -Princeton, a potentially dangerous and expensive accident was averted.

Pilot Townsell explained to the Bermuda Sun that he waited until the Islander had slowed right down to drop the bow anchor and ensure the two container vessels did not make contact.

He added: “The Princeton was able to get into a position between the two ships and keep the Islander away from the Somers Isles.

“While the JL Cecil Smith was able to get a line across to us and hold us off the Somers Isles.


“There was not much wind in the harbour at that time and we were also lucky because there was a Branch Pilot on the Somers Isles so he was able to get the Somers Isles out of the way so we could take her berth.

“There were a lot of factors that worked in a favour otherwise there could have been a different outcome.

“I would estimate that the closest the two ships came was around 15 meters.

“I have experience power blackouts before but none where the ships came close together like this. 

“In situations like this it’s important to keep calm and use your experience to ensure that the best possible resolution is reached and fortunately in this case we were able to do that.”

The Islander was able to come alongside at the Number 7 dock just 30 minutes after she had initially left.

And after mechanics had inspected the ship she was able to depart, just an hour behind schedule, for the East Coast of the US.

Joe Simas, Vice President of the Meyer group, told the Bermuda Sun: “This was a relatively minor incident really.

“The Bermuda Islander suffered a power black out as she left port.

“I understand that a ferry and the line boat, Princeton, ensured that she remained away from the Somers Isles.

“The Somers Isles was then able to make way for the Islander and an inspection took place.

“No significant problems were revealed and the ship was able to leave just an hour behind schedule.” n