Mystery of container ships at anchor off Suffolk coast solved

container ship Lowestoft Southwold

One of the two container ships which remain and are still visible on the horizon from Lowestoft South Beach. - Credit: Mick Howes

Overcrowded container terminals across Europe have sparked delays and kept ships at anchor over recent weeks.

It comes after the sighting of two container ships on the horizon off the Suffolk coast for over two weeks at the end of June had mystified onlookers.

With the first of two vessels ‘Mol Truth’ arriving at the Southwold Anchorage - which lies off the coast between Lowestoft and Southwold - on June 10, a second vessel - ‘Mol Trust’ - arrived on June 18.

Answers have now emerged - with suggestions for the reasoning behind the ships remaining at the Southwold Anchorage for so long.

Readers have suggested that the reason for anchoring off Southwold was due to severe congestion in North European container ports with “at least 20 waiting to get into Hamburg”.

A 24-hour strike across German ports - including Hamburg - on June 23 also compounded the problem.

With maritime websites reporting that Rotterdam and Hamburg were "among the busiest container ports" in recent weeks, it is said that “the congestion situation is still far from normal.”

The vessels are both 400 metres long and have a tonnage of over 200,000 tonnes, as they are laden with containers.

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According to a marine traffic website ‘Mol Truth’ arrived from Le Havre on June 10 but has now left and is currently moored at the container terminal on the river Elbe in Hamburg, as planned.

The other container ship ‘Mol Trust’ is now due to leave on July 11 and is destined for Hamburg in the Germany.

The Marshall Islands registered container ship is still visible on the horizon from Lowestoft South Beach.