Container turn-around times have outstripped safe working procedures and a code of practice is needed to avoid further disasters, suggests a report from Britain’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch on a contaner collapse aboard the containership Annabella in the Baltic Sea in February 2007.
A stack of containers collapsed against the forward part of the ship’s hold in heavy weather and sustained damage. Three of the damaged containers carried hazardous cargo – Butylene gas. Containers lower in the stack were not strong enough to support those above them.
A key issue is the loss of control of stacking operations due to poor information flow between shippers, planners, the loading terminal and the ship itself arising from the ‘need for speed’.
Similar issues are involved in the structural failure and grounding of the MSC Napoli earlier this year.
MAIB says that the two incidents ‘identify a compelling need for a code of practice for the container shipping industry.