A tanker and container ship have been seriously damaged in a collision off Malaysia.

The incident involves a 106,000-dwt aframax listed by vessel trackers as the Panama-flagged Zephyr I (built 2002) and the 7,849-teu Liberia-flag GSL Grania (built 2004), a vessel owned by Global Ship Lease (GSL).

The crash occured in the early hours of Wednesday, 11.7 nautical miles southwest of Tanjung Laboh.

Photos show the bow of the tanker caved in and what appears to be massive damage to the starboard side of the boxship above the waterline, with Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) containers visible above the battered and holed hull.

Commander Mohd Haniff Mohd Yunus, maritime zone director for the Batu Pahat Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), told reporters the Johor Baru Maritime Rescue Sub Center (MRSC) was notified about the incident early on Wednesday.

“Checks showed that collision involved the GSL Grania from Liberia and the Zephyr I from Panama. Following that, the Batu Pahat maritime zone operations centre dispatched the Benteng 05 boat to the location to carry out a monitoring and assistance mission,” he added.

A further inspection found that there were no injuries reported among the 45 seafarers on either vessel, Yunus said.

Nor was there any sign of pollution.

The Zephyr I had left anchorage in Malacca but no destination is shown on AIS.

The GSL Grania had left the US in August and was due in Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia on Wednesday.

Yunus said checks with the master of the GSL Grania’s captain revealed that the accident was caused by the Zephyr I losing control and crashing into the container ship’s side, towards the stern.

En route to China

The GSL Grania has been damaged in a collision with an aframax. Photo: MMEA

According to shipping sources, the Zephyr I overtook the GSL Grania and then abruptly turned, possibly due to an engine failure.

The tanker was carrying a mixed bitumen cargo and was en route to China, the commander added.

Ownership of the Zephyr I is not possible to establish.

The ship changed hands twice this year. It was trading as Alfa Italia when its then owner Lundqvist Rederierna sold it to clients of Monumont Shipping, a little-known Turkish company that put it under the flag of Palau.

The vessel was then renamed Zhen I and reported flipped at a profit earlier this month, as TradeWinds reported, just as it was due to pass special survey.

Equasis and S&P Global Market Intelligence are still listing the ship as Zhen I.

According to Signal Ocean data, the ship had loaded oil in Russia in July and was underway in the Indian Ocean in voyages that included a call at Colombo and a ship-to-ship transfer earlier this month with the 306,200-dwt VLCC Phuke (built 2005).

GSL has been contacted for comment.

VesselsValue assesses the boxship, chartered by Maersk, as worth $86m and the tanker $22m.

The GSL Grania is insured through the UK P&I Club.

Neither ship has any port state control detentions on its record.