A US court has issued an arrest warrant against an MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company vessel after a terminal operator alleged that a pier was damaged when the ship lost control at full speed.

The warrant, ordered by US district judge David Norton, targeted the 6,648-teu MSC Michigan VII (built 2000).

TradeWinds reported last week that traffic was closed on a bridge in Charleston, South Carolina when the ship’s pilot reported that the vessel had lost control while stuck in “full ahead” at between 14 and 17 knots.

Carver Maritime, which operates a breakbulk and project cargo terminal at the port, requested the arrest as part of a lawsuit against the vessel alleging that the wake from its uncontrolled departure pushed another ship into its pier.

The lawsuit also names MSC Shipmanagement and the ship’s registered owner, Kyveli Oceanway, as defendants.

It is not clear whether the arrest order has been served on the vessel, which remains moored in Charleston, according to tracking data from VesselsValue.

AJ Bilbrey, the lawyer at local firm Cooper & Bilbrey who is representing Carver, declined to comment for this story. MSC spokesman Giles Read also declined to comment, citing a pending investigation into the incident.

In its lawsuit, Carver alleged that while it was out of control on 5 June, the MSC Michigan VII sped past its pier on the Cooper River at more than 15 knots, or about 28 km/h.

At the time, the 45,500-dwt open-hatch bulker Norway Pearl (built 2015), which is controlled by SMT Shipping, was at the pier.

Carver’s lawyers alleged in their civil complaint that the MSC Michigan VII generated a “very large wake” that caused a rapid drop in water levels at the pier.

“The vessel’s excessive speed adjacent to Pier J caused the water level to drop considerably in a very short amount of time, [which] sucked the Norway Pearl away from the pier until all of its mooring lines became extremely taut and then forced it back violently back into Pier J,” the lawyers wrote.

That caused “substantial damage” to the pier and its components, they said, without specifying a dollar figure for the damage.

They allege negligence and gross negligence for failing to maintain a safe speed.

The US Coast Guard has said it is investigating the MSC Michigan VII’s loss of control, which led officials to close vehicle traffic to the Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge and evacuate nearby Fort Moultrie Beach.

The incident also highlighted infrastructure risks after the Maersk-chartered, 9,962-teu container ship Dali (built 2015) lost power and destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore in March.

The MSC Michigan VII is registered under the Liberian flag and is classed by Bureau Veritas, Equasis data shows. It has protection and indemnity insurance from the UK P&I Club, according to Clarksons.

A person who answered the phone at Cyprus-headquartered SMT Shipping’s US office said no one at the company would comment on the incident. Its Norway Pearl flies the Bahamas flag, is classed by DNV and has insurance from West P&I, according to Equasis.