Container ship MSC Charleston collides with smaller vessel in Va. channel

The mega-sized MSC Charleston was tied up to the State Ports Authority's Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant on June 10, 2011.

The Coast Guard says two ships have collided in a main shipping channel off the Virginia coast while a 751-foot cargo ship ran aground in high winds gusting up to 70 mph.

A news release from the Coast Guard said the collision happened between the 79-foot rig vessel Petite and the 1,065-foot container ship MSC Charleston about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Thimble Shoal Channel.

The release said there were no reports of injuries, damage or pollution and that both vessels had been safely anchored.

The MSC Charleston calls regularly at the Port of Charleston. It is operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co., which has its South Atlantic headquarters in Mount Pleasant. It is one of the Swiss company's largest ships.

The MSC Charleston is scheduled to arrive at S.C. State Ports Authority's Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant on Saturday.

It was not immediately known if the container vessel will still call on the Wando terminal this weekend, according to a spokeswoman for the State Ports Authority.

As of late Wednesday morning, MSC Charleston remained in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Cape Charles, Va., according to ship tracking website

The website reported that the containership traveled from New York to Port of Norfolk on Tuesday morning.

Separately, the Coast Guard also said winds gusting to 70 mph at Cape Henry caused 12 ships anchored in the vicinity of Lynnhaven to drag anchor. The 751-foot-long bulk carrier Ornak ran aground a little after 8:30 p.m. near First Landing State Park.