Thousands of shipping containers are lost from cargo vessels each year. The consequences of losing containers from a ship have become more important that just losing the cargo and the container shell. Many of these containers end up in the seafloor, causing a great impact on the marine environment and the species that live in the sea.
Recently, 70 cargo containers fell off of the cargo ship “Maersk Shanghai”, about 17 miles off Oregon Inlet, North Carolina.
In a recent survey, the World Shipping Council found that 568 containers are lost at sea each year, on average, not counting catastrophic events, and a total of 1,582 containers are lost at sea each year including catastrophic events. In total, 64% of containers lost during the last decade were attributed to a catastrophic event.
The main reason that containers can fall overboard, are the following:
- Packing issues;
- Overweight containers;
- Inadequate planning;
- Poor lashing performance;
- Fully automatic twistlocks (FATs);
- Voyage planning/navigation.
To reduce container losses, a number of initiatives are underway. Namely, SOLAS Convention requires container weight verification as a condition for vessel loading, while the IMO has issued guidelines on this requirement.
[smlsubform prepend=”GET THE SAFETY4SEA IN YOUR INBOX!” showname=false emailtxt=”” emailholder=”Enter your email address” showsubmit=true submittxt=”Submit” jsthanks=false thankyou=”Thank you for subscribing to our mailing list”]
Furthermore, operators must review heavy weather precautions. Forecasts are never completely reliable and a sensible review must be conducted. Ship handling in heavy weather is probably an area where training has to be improved.