Too early to say “common themes” in container losses in the North Pacific
The UK branch of marine accident investigation said it was too early to say what exactly is behind the growing number of container loss incidents in the North Pacific Ocean or whether these incidents could have any consequences. broader implications for the container transport industry.
The MAIB highlighted recent incidents of lost cargo as well as other marine casualties involving British ships around the world or foreign ships in UK territorial waters in its annual marine casualty report for 2020, giving a overview of accident reports and recommendations issued by MAIB throughout the calendar year.
In 2020, the MAIB published two investigative reports into the collapse of container stacks on large container ships, both of which were transiting the North Pacific Ocean in heavy weather.
MAIB’s investigation into the overboard loss in October 2017 of 42 containers of the British-flagged Ever Smart, about 700 miles east of Japan, highlighted the weather routing, including the slamming of the bow and hull vibration, as safety issues identified during the investigation. It also determined that the containers were not stowed or secured in accordance with the guidelines contained in the ship’s cargo stowage manual; tie-bar locking devices were not being used, increasing the risk of loosening; and verified gross mass irregularities were found in 36% of the stowage.
In another incident, the British-flagged CMA CGM G. Washington in January 2018 lost 137 cargo container containers overboard and 85 more were damaged after the vessel unexpectedly rolled up to 20 degrees when passing through rough seas from Xiamen, China to Los Angeles, California. The MAIB published its report on this accident in January 2020, identifying safety issues, including weather routing and parametric taxiing, loose lashings, inaccurate container weight declarations and poorly secured containers.
MAIB’s annual report noted that there have been more accidents involving large container losses since the two incidents it investigated, the most notable being ONE Apus, and more general concerns raised about large container ships even before Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal earlier this year.
The MAIB said such crashes are difficult to investigate due to the multiple interrelated factors involved and that critical evidence could be lost overboard in the crash.
“There is no doubt that accidents involving ultra-large container ships will continue to receive intense attention, but it is too early to say what common themes might emerge from accident investigations and whether these could have serious consequences. broader implications for the sector, “MAIB said in its report.
Since last fall, more than 3,000 containers have fallen into the North Pacific Ocean from large container ships as larger ships carrying more cargo continue to flow into U.S. ports as U.S. consumers continue. to gorge on goods imported from Asia. In addition to the ONE Apus, which lost around 1,800 cases overboard in November, the Maersk Essen lost around 750 cases while sailing from Xiamen, China to Los Angeles in January. A month later, 260 containers fell from the Maersk Eindhoven when it lost power in rough seas.