MV Cougar Ace

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Cougar Ace on side (starboard side).jpg
Cougar Ace listing to port, view towards bow end
Name: Cougar Ace
Owner: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
Port of registry:  Singapore Singapore
Builder: K.K. Kanasashi, Toyohashi, Japan
Cost: $100-million+
Yard number: 3305
Launched: June 1993
Completed: October 1993
Status: In service
General characteristics
Class and type: Roll On-Roll Off car carrier
Length: 199 m (652 ft 11 in)
Beam: 32.26 m (105 ft 10 in)
Draught: 9.72 m (31 ft 11 in)
Propulsion: Mitsubishi
Speed: 18.6 knots (34.4 km/h; 21.4 mph)
Capacity: 5,542 automobiles

The MV Cougar Ace is a Singapore-flagged roll-on/roll-off car carrier vessel. The Cougar Ace was built by Kanasashi Co., of Toyohashi, Japan and launched in June 1993. Specifications cite a length of 199m, draft of 9.72m, beam of 32.26m and a maximum speed of 18.6 knots (34.4 km/h; 21.4 mph). Her Gross Tonnage is 55,328. She is owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.[1]

On May 4, 2005, Cougar Ace delivered 5,214 automobiles at the Fraser River wharves in Richmond, British Columbia. This set a Canadian record for the most vehicles offloaded from a single ship.[2]

Loss of stability incident[edit]

On July 23, 2006, she was en route from Japan to Vancouver, British Columbia; Tacoma, Washington; and Port Hueneme, California, with a cargo of 4,812 vehicles. During an exchange of ballast water south of the Aleutian Islands, she lost stability and developed a 60-degree list to port. There were reports of a large wave striking the vessel during the ballast transfer, but it is unknown what effect this had on her loss of stability.[3] On July 24, the United States Coast Guard and the 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard successfully rescued the 23 crew members.[4]

4,703 of the vehicles on board were Mazdas;[5] 60% were 2007 Mazda3s and 30% were Mazda CX-7 crossover SUVs. The remaining Mazdas were mainly RX-8s and MX-5s. According to Car and Driver magazine, the exact contents of the shipment were 2804 Mazda3s, 1329 CX-7s, 295 MX-5s, 214 RX-8s, 56 Mazda5s and 5 Mazdaspeed6s.[5]

110 of the vehicles were Isuzu vehicles, mostly Isuzu Elf. The cargo was valued at US$117 million. Later Mazda North America scrapped all of their vehicles on the vessel during the incident.[6]

Salvage Effort[edit]

A marine salvage team from Titan Salvage arrived on site on July 30, 2006. Led by Salvage Master Captain Rich Habib, the team was able to get aboard the vessel via a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter from the cutter Morgenthau.[7] Later that day naval architect Marty Johnson slipped and fell to his death as the salvage team was preparing to leave the Cougar Ace and board the tugboat Emma Foss.[8] Johnson was a 40-year-old resident of Issaquah, Washington and employee of Crowley, the parent company of Titan Salvage.[7]

Titan Salvage subsequently towed the vessel through Samalga Pass to the north side of the Aleutian Islands for protection from the weather using the tugboats Sea Victory, Gladiator and Emma Foss. It was then taken to Old Woman's Bay, Unalaska Island, where it was moored to Icicle Seafoods mooring buoy. It was righted and redelivered to Mitsui on August 16, 2006. On August 25, 2006 the newly upright vessel was put under tow to Portland, Oregon for inspection and repair.

Disposition of cargo[edit]

Mazda officials reported minimal damage to the vehicles on board despite the ship listing for over a month.[9] However, according to the US Coast Guard, 41 vehicles broke loose and shifted, and the few public pictures from inside the ship do show severe damage to at least some of the cars.[10][11]

On September 11, 2006, one day before the Cougar Ace arrived in Portland to begin unloading, Mazda USA announced that none of the Mazda cars aboard would be sold as new vehicles.[12] Mazda USA published a list of VINs for the affected Mazda vehicles on the website.

On December 15, 2006, Mazda announced that all vehicles on the Cougar Ace would be scrapped.[13] After an extensive process to deploy all the airbags in each vehicle, all of the Mazda cars were crushed onsite at the Port of Portland by Pacific Car Crushing. The last Mazda car from the shipment was crushed on May 6, 2008.[5]

Appearances in media[edit]

The Cougar Ace was covered extensively by the automotive press because of the sheer number of new cars that Mazda scrapped after the incident. She has a cameo of sorts in episode one, season three, of the television series Deadliest Catch. She is shown, temporarily anchored in Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian islands, awaiting further recovery.

Internet Meme[edit]

The picture of the boat on her side generated a multitude of memes, with captions ranging from "Your Shipment of Fail Has Arrived" to "All Aboard the Failboat".[14]


See also[edit]

  • MV Höegh Osaka, a car carrier which had a major list incident in 2015.
  • MV Reijin, a car carrier which capsized off Oporto in 1988.


  1. ^ "Cougar Ace" (in German). Retrieved 2006-08-02. 
  2. ^ "Fraser Wharves Sets New Auto Delivery Record". Open Sea. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines. 2005-05-04. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  3. ^ D'Oro, Rachel (2006-07-26). "Rescued crew of listing ship happy to be alive". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  4. ^ "23 are rescued as cargo ship takes water". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 2006-07-25. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  5. ^ a b c "Cougar Ace: The Great $103 Million Snafu at Sea". Car and Driver. 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  6. ^ "Mazda Vehicles Aboard Stricken Car-Carrying Vessel, Cougar Ace". Mazda Motor Corporation. 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  7. ^ a b Cougar Ace salvage operation turns deadly at
  8. ^ Pemberton, Mary (2006-08-01). The Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore stationed out of Cordova Alaska was a key member in the salvage of the Cougar Ace. "Member of salvage team is killed in fall aboard listing ship" Check |url= value (help). Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  9. ^ Demer, Lisa (27 August 2006). "Finally Upright, Cougar Ace will be Portland Bound". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. 
  10. ^ Canada may lose 4,813 Vehicles - Page 8 - Mazda Forums (web forum)[unreliable source?]
  11. ^ Remember the ship that was on it's (sic) side? - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum (web forum)[unreliable source?]
  12. ^ NO MAZDA VEHICLES ON CAR-CARRYING VESSEL COUGAR ACE WILL BE SOLD AS NEW Archived May 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ ALL MAZDA VEHICLES FROM CAR-CARRYING VESSEL COUGAR ACE TO BE SCRAPPED Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Know Your Meme. "Failboat". Retrieved March 3, 2018. 

External links[edit]